Only 474 spectators will be allowed at Warwick’s upcoming Monday pilot of racing with spectators, the course announced on Wednesday. Prior to this adjustment downward, the track had been planning for 800 spectators. One of The Jockey Club’s courses, Warwick had met with Public Health England which resulted in the spectator reduction. Racing resumed June 1 and, except for a pilot event at Doncaster last Wednesday, has been conducted without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Following discussions with local authorities and representatives, Warwick Racecourse will welcome up to 474 spectators at its Monday, Sept. 21 racing fixture as part of a limited capacity trial, with stringent health and safety measures in place for its first meeting since March,” said Warwick Racecourse in a statement. “The restricted capacity will be filled by 150 annual members, 124 hospitality bookers and up to 200 racehorse owners, in addition to participants and raceday staff. Tickets will not go on general sale given the limits involved.”
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden also offered an update via Twitter, tweeting, “Return of fans to sport update. Just held a collaborative and constructive meeting with major sports on the Oct. 1 review. There is mutual understanding of the need to get fans back in, while all acknowledging the very significant headwinds we face with the virus.
“The Government is conducting this review rapidly and will complete this work on the return of fans as soon as possible. This follows a meeting I held with the business events sector earlier this week as part of the review.”
The British Horseracing Authority issued a joint statement with other sporting bodies after the meeting with Dowden which read: “We conveyed to the Secretary of State the very serious financial situation now facing our sports, clubs and venues and that we believe we can stage events safely.
“It is clear that if fans cannot return soon that there will be very serious economic implications across our sporting sector.
“Our sports have already demonstrated through staging fixtures behind closed doors, in test events and through the return of recreational sport that we can deliver the very highest standards in safety and best practice.
“We will continue to engage with the Government in the days ahead and provide any further evidence required.”