Owners to be barred from English racecourses in Tier 4 from Friday
Owners will no longer be permitted to attend English racecourses in Tier 4 from January 1 after the BHA adjusted its coronavirus protocols on Tuesday.
Amber zones reserved for owners will no longer be open at tracks in Tier 4 from the first day of 2021, while to further reduce the risk of transmission of the virus it has also been agreed no owners living in Tier 4 will be allowed to attend meetings at courses in Tiers 1, 2 and 3.
The BHA’s chief medical adviser Dr Jerry Hill said: “Racing has worked hard to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus through the tough protocols people have followed when attending race meetings.
"With the NHS under pressure and a more virulent strain of Covid now circulating, we have agreed these new restrictions are appropriate to the situation and will keep their use under review for Tiers 2 and 3.
"No one should attend at all if they feel unwell and any participant showing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and arrange a Covid-19 test."
Owners were allowed to attend Newbury's Challow Hurdle meeting on Tuesday but if the course remains in Tier 4 when the government reviews England's pandemic tiers on Wednesday future meetings will be restricted to active participants only.
Lingfield is also currently in Tier 4 and is due to race again on Thursday before the new BHA guidelines take effect on Friday. All-weather owners in the south are among those most likely to lose out, with Kempton and Chelmsford also set to be affected unless the government relaxes the tier measures in their areas.
The Tolworth Hurdle card at Sandown headlines the first Saturday of 2021 in Britain but owners are set to be absent as the Esher track is currently in Tier 4.
Richard Wayman, the BHA's chief operating officer, said: "Our priority since June has been to keep racing going as this is vital to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who depend upon our industry.
"We have worked hard with government to secure permission for owners to keep attending, with numbers restricted during the national lockdown. Owners are the lifeblood of our sport and we understand the disappointment these additional restrictions will cause.
"However, the measures, which will be kept constantly under review, will help reduce risk on the racecourse and ensure that racing is able to continue safely through these most challenging times.”
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