In an unprecedented move owing to the outbreak of coronavirus in mainland China, officials at the Hong Kong Jockey Club announced Friday that it would go ahead with Monday’s Chinese New Year card at Sha Tin, but that attendance would be restricted to in an effort to “strengthen hygiene protection,” according to a release from the Club.
Apart from essential parties, i.e. trainers, owners, jockeys, HKJC officials, only those who have booked a prior reservation at racecourse restaurants will be admitted to the track. All customers will receive temperature screenings before entry and will be advised to wear medical masks. The Club also announced that the Off-Course Betting Branches (OCCBs) would remained closed. These arrangements for both racecourses and OCCBs will remain in effect until further notice.
The Chinese New Year program perenially attracts better than 100,000 fans to the city’s two racecourses.
A handful of coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, prompting government leaders to extend the Lunar New Year holiday into mid-February. It was also announced Saturday that the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, scheduled for Feb. 8 and 9, would be canceled.