Following the increasing rate of spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, racing will continue without crowds in attendance after the UK Government's Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that approximately 75% of the UK will be moved into Tier 3 or Tier 4 restrictions beginning on Thursday. Every area where a racecourse is located in Great Britain falls under these new Tier 3/4 designations. Hancock made the announcement in the House of Commons. Spectators were allowed back to courses in early December in Tier 1 and 2 areas, but as recently as Tuesday, the BHA announced that owners were not able to attend meetings held in Tier 4 areas beginning New Year's Day.
“Unfortunately, this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast,” said Hancock. “It is therefore necessary to apply Tier 4 measures to a wider area…even in most areas not moving into Tier 4, cases are rising too, and it is therefore necessary to apply Tier 3 measures more broadly too.
“The new variant means that three-quarters of the population are now going to be in Tier 4 and almost all of the country in Tiers 3 and 4.
“And I know that Tier 3 and 4 measures place a significant burden on people, and especially on businesses affected, but I am afraid it is absolutely necessary because of the number of cases that we've seen.”