The British government released its timeline for the potential resumption of sporting events on Monday, and in its Our Plan to Rebuild, cultural and sporting events conducted behind closed doors-like racing-are part of the second step of lifting the current coronavirus restrictions and would resume no earlier than June 1. The news was welcomed by British horseracing’s executive committee comprised of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the Racecourse Association, The Racehorse Owners’ Association and the National Trainers Federation, who are “committed to plan for resumption on June 1st,” according to the release. Racing’s resumption date is subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time and is conditional on the fulfillment of the government’s five tests for easing lockdown measures. A timeline blueprint for what racing would need to do to meet that date will be announced within the next seven days.
The Resumption of Racing Group will meet later this week and ensure that race planning and the provisional fixture programme, including scheduling the Classics and other flagship races, meet the new government timeline. Plans have already been drawn up for the resumption of racing based on minimising risk for participants through social distancing and strict infection control measures. New processes and protocols will be in place prior to the resumption and require significant adjustments to ‘normal’ race-day practices, which will be finalised and agreed upon across the industry, which will then also adopt them.
There is no timeline for reopening venues that attract large crowds, as such “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.” The UK Government says it is working with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to coordinate the easing of lockdown restrictions where possible. Finally, the BHA’s Public Affairs team continues to liaise with politicians and officials in Scotland and Wales to progress resumption at the earliest opportunity.