Chelmsford City Racecourse will implement a Covid pass as a condition of entry, with racegoers also required to show photo identification.
“Due to the ongoing pandemic, the racecourse has taken the decision to implement Covid passes as a condition of entry,” a statement from the track read. “We have introduced these measures in order to protect our customers, team, local community and those who participate in our sport.
“Alongside this as an additional safety measure, the racecourse will also be implementing ID as a condition of entry as well. This will be conducted by scanning photographic IDs with the following forms of ID accepted: passport, drivers licence, any government or international issue photo card. This is a decision which the racecourse has not taken lightly, but we feel that we are obligated to protect all who visit the racecourse. In order to do this we want to ensure that all persons attending are not on any lists that ban them from industry venues, sports grounds and licensed premises. The scanning of IDs upon entry has also been introduced in response to the UK raising the terror threat to severe.”
Nathan Holmes, Chelmsford's commercial director, said that the Covid pass implementation is not related to the recent discovery of new Covid strain Omicron-of which there was a nearby case-but instead something that has been in the works.
“The decision was made before the new variant came into play–it wasn't a knee-jerk reaction at all, we've had it planned for a couple of weeks,” Holmes said. “Jockeys do not have show a pass at the moment. We're still looking towards the horsemen to try to do something similar, but we're not sure how that is going to work yet as there are lots of different parties involved.
“We've spoken to racegoers about this and we've had quite a mixed reaction, particularly from older racegoers. We are inevitably going to lose some people, but at the same time we think we are going to gain some because we are creating a safe environment for people to come racing. As for how long we implement this, we have four meetings left this year. After our final meeting we then have a three-week gap. Our thinking is we've done so well in racing since coming out of lockdown, let's not spoil it. We've also got some big Christmas parties with up to 300 people coming, which this will be implemented at as well, so we'll get this period out of the way first and then review it in the three-week period and see where we are at. Hopefully then there will be better news coming from the government.”