As there is currently an increased rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the UK, British racing leaders have agreed with the UK Government to impose more stringent racemeeting restrictions beginning on Jan. 1, the British Horseracing Authority announced on Tuesday. Under the new restrictions, no owners will be permitted to attend Tier 4 race meetings and essential staff only are allowed at meetings in Tier 4 areas. In addition, no owners living in Tier 4 will be permitted to attend race meetings in Tiers 1-3. These restrictions also apply to Scotland in areas which are under Level 4 restrictions. Owners are also encouraged to check with individual racecourses before attending. Owners attending race meetings in Tiers 2 and 3 are reminded that they must comply with the BHA's protocols, as well as national guidance.
The BHA's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Jerry Hill, said on Tuesday, “Racing has worked hard to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus through the tough protocols people have followed when attending race meetings. With the NHS under pressure and a more virulent strain of COVID now circulating, we have agreed that these new restrictions are appropriate to the situation and will keep their use under review for Tiers 2 and 3. No one should attend at all if they feel unwell and any participant showing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and arrange a COVID-19 test.”
“Our priority since June has been to keep racing going as this is vital to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who depend upon our industry,” said the BHA's Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman. “We have worked hard with government to secure permission for owners to keep attending, with numbers restricted during the national lockdown. Owners are the lifeblood of our sport and we understand the disappointment these additional restrictions will cause. However, the measures, which will be kept constantly under review, will help reduce risk on the racecourse and ensure that racing is able to continue safely through these most challenging times.”