Spectator Restrictions to Continue as UK Government Hits Pause on Reopening

Racegoers at Royal Ascot | Emma Berry

After the UK Government announced that they would be taking a four-week pause on the country's progression out of COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, the UK Racing industry acknowledged the reasons for the delay, but expressed disappointment at the news. The COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown had been due to switch to Stage 4 on June 21, but instead the current restrictions will continue, affecting major racing events like Coral-Eclipse Day at Sandown Park, and the Moet & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket.

Currently, the industry is working with the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) to secure a £21-million loan from the UK Government's winter survival fund, however, seeking additional support from the Sport Survival Package will now be considered. As it stands, most race meetings have a max of 4,000 spectators allowed, with Royal Ascot participating in the Events Research Programme (ERP), which allows 12,000 racegoers for the five-day stand.

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said, “While it is disappointing that plans for the relaxation of restrictions and the further return of spectators have been delayed, we of course understand the principle that Government's decisions should be evidence-based and public health must come first.

“Many of our racegoers will be frustrated by this delay, but we are doing all we can to work with national and local authorities to maximise the number of people allowed to attend race-meetings in safety.”

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