Irish racecourses can host up to 50% of their outdoor capacity beginning on Sept. 6 following the Irish Government's latest COVID-19 response roadmap, Horse Racing Ireland announced on Thursday. Racecourses may also utilise 60% of their indoor capacity for hospitality purposes should attendees consume food and beverages indoors as long as they provide evidence of their Digital Covid Vaccine Cert (DCC). Attendance in both spheres will be increased to 100% as long as all covid restrictions are lifted on Oct. 22.
Regarding Irish Champions Weekend on Sept. 11 and 12, tickets for both cards go on sale on Sept. 3 for racegoers who have registered their interest ahead of time, with the remaining tickets going on general sale on Monday. Leopardstown and The Curragh will each be allowed to host a maximum of 4,000 attendees. Both days will be mixed outdoor events and access to indoor spaces is allowed with proof of a vaccine required for those consuming food and beverages indoors. The seven-day Listowel Harvest Festival from Sept. 19-Sept. 25 will host a maximum of 2,000 attendees per day and it is an outdoor-only event.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “It has been a very difficult 18 months for everybody in society, and racing can be proud of the way it has come through it. However, without racegoers, racing has been missing one of its essential ingredients.
“Like many industries, there is still much work to do, but there is now real progress and forward steps to normality. Welcoming back racegoers in measured but increasing numbers, is one of those steps and from Monday, Irish racecourses will be free to use 50% of their capacity to allow racegoers back on the track in real numbers.
“And as we know, this good news comes just in time for some of our most important race meetings: the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, and Listowel's Harvest Festival which begins on Sunday, Sept. 19.
“I would like to thank all our customers for their patience and look forward to race meetings becoming just that again–a place where racegoers can meet each other in a safe environment and enjoy our great sport.”
Tim Husbands, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “It is great news, and I can't tell you how happy and relieved the whole Leopardstown team is to be finally selling tickets and getting ready to welcome people back racing. We've been working hard for quite some time on making the racecourse a safe and pleasurable place for people to enjoy comfortably in these unique times.”
Evan Arkwright, Chief Executive (Interim) Curragh Racecourse, added, “We were thrilled to hear the positive news earlier this week which will now allow us to welcome back a significant number of attendees for Longines Irish Champions Weekend.”