Restrictions easing: more owners to be allowed on racecourses from July 28
More owners will be allowed to attend meetings from next week, when dining options will be increased and arrival restrictions will be eased.
Since the sport resumed in Britain on June 1 after the coronavirus pandemic, strict guidelines have been adhered to with owners only recently allowed back on course, and even then forced to follow measures to limit any potential spread of the disease.
However, the BHA revealed on Tuesday changes are planned for meetings from Tuesday, July 28, onwards.
They include more than two owners attending a fixture, although the total limit will lie with individual racecourses, their capacity and government guidelines on social distancing.
Those owners on track will also be given greater flexibility in when they arrive and how much time they can spend on site, although that will not apply at Welsh courses, which will continue to permit the presence of just two connections due to the country's protocols.
Refreshments, including hot food where possible, can now be provided in line with official guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars, although the BHA pointed out there may still be some restrictions due to local conditions in England, Wales and Scotland.
"To accompany this change, strict measures will remain in place to manage infection control," read a statement from the BHA. "This will include existing social distancing and hygiene controls and will require the careful management of capacities in owners’ facilities. Raceday workers [trainers, jockeys, stable staff, officials etc] and owners will also continue to remain separate from each other and will not be able to use the same facilities."
Still having dedicated zones for owners may be viewed with disappointment by some, but means "there is currently no need to revise other elements of the screening programme, such as the introduction of laboratory testing for all racecourse attendees".
The BHA stressed the changes "are all aimed at improving the owner experience in the short-term, with a view to gradually easing restrictions and moving towards a more traditional raceday experience when government restrictions allow".
The regulator added: "At this stage, racing – as an elite sport – must follow strict government guidance in relation to sports events behind closed doors, including tight restrictions on access to the racecourse, health screening prior to entry and social distancing on raceday."
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