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How does the government's timeline impact the racing and betting industries?

Betting shops could reopen on April 12, two days after the Randox Grand National
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Prime minister Boris Johnson has set out details of the government's plan for the easing of lockdown, with restrictions set to be lifted in four stages, starting on March 8, if four key tests are met upon review of the latest data.

The four steps will take place at least five weeks apart and are provisionally set for March 8, April 12, May 17 and June 21, although it has been stressed steps will be taken no earlier than these dates.

With that in mind, we look at the key dates for when restrictions that impact the racing and betting industries may be lifted in England if strict conditions on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants are met.

The key dates

April 12 All non-essential retail could open from this date, including betting shops, two days after one of the biggest betting events of the year, the Randox Grand National, takes place at Aintree. Event pilots could begin from this date too. Doncaster and Warwick hosted pilot events last September.

May 17 Some large events, like race meetings, may be permitted with a limited number of spectators. Outdoor events are expected to be capped at 4,000, or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lowest, while outdoor seated events could cater for 10,000 people or 25 per cent capacity. In addition, pilots will run to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing, using other mitigations such as testing.

Up to 4,000 spectators could be at Epsom for Derby day if the government's plan goes as scheduled

June 5 The Derby could be run in front of up to 4,000 spectators at Epsom.

June 15 Royal Ascot begins, possibly with a crowd of 4,000, and concludes two days before the planned next stage of lockdown easing.

June 21 The government hopes to be able to lift limits on larger events. Legal limits on social contact could also be removed.


Read more:

Reopening dates for courses and shops set out as BHA seeks return of owners

Chester confident it can host 5,000 racegoers in May if restrictions are eased

Members' Club: talks on racing securing £40m government assistance 'moving smoothly'

Members' Club: Irish betting shops may remain shut for Cheltenham with 'huge' closures forecast

Covid-19 hits betting shops but William Hill end 'a year like no other' strongly


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The four steps will take place at least five weeks apart and provisionally on March 8, April 12, May 17 and June 21
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