USA – Kentucky’s Churchill Downs, a Thoroughbred racetrack most famous for annually hosting the Kentucky Derby, owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated, has been given clearance to safely re-open by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear:
“We were able to come to an agreement specifically with the group that’s going to start, Churchill Downs. They are going to start accepting horses and start accepting folks on their backside, on May 11.
There will be no fans for racing. I will tell you this is one of the most detailed plans that we have seen about specific security checks that everybody has to go through and be temperature-checked to masking to having a very limited group that is there.”
Kevin Flanery, Churchill Downs Racetrack President responded:
“We truly appreciate the leadership of Governor Beshear and all of the hard work and guidance that state and local officials and public health experts have provided us to safely reopen.
The health and safety of our horsemen, staff and community remains paramount. Strict compliance with our comprehensive COVID-19 Action Plan and social distancing guidelines is our responsible duty to effectively contain the virus.”
Racing at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet will be conducted spectator-free until government officials approve fans returning to the historic track.
Churchill Downs’ stable areas have been closed since 31st December 2019 for annual winter renovations and were originally scheduled to reopen March 17th.
However, due to the unique situation, there will be a phased, systematic and controlled return of horses and their personnel to the stable areas starting on Monday, May 11th.
Racetrack Re-Opening Measures
– Pre-entry procedures include wearing at minimum a cloth/mask or face covering prior to entering and all times while on the grounds, COVID-19 testing and passing a medical screening which includes a medical questionnaire and temperature reading.
– All individuals who refuse to comply with the COVID-19 Action Plan or those who do not pass the medical screening will be denied entry onto the premises.
– Each person on the grounds will be given a colour-coded wristband which will validate that person has passed that day’s screening.
– All horsemen and racetrack employees will be required to practice safe social distancing procedures.
– Tracks will require all trainers to submit a badge list identifying their employees which will be cross-referenced to ensure that all employees are screened daily.
– Personnel are encouraged to increase the frequency of hand washing by utilizing exterior hand sanitizing stations or by utilizing restrooms/bath houses that are stocked with liquid soap.
– Churchill Downs will ensure that jockeys and staff are adequately spaced out in the jockeys’ room to comply with proper social distance guidelines.