Ireland—The Irish government recently confirmed that it will be allowing horse racing to resume starting June 8. This is after the suspension of sports activities due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Irish racing was forced to shift behind closed doors on March 13, but the government later announced a full suspension of all sports events in the country later on in the same month. Horse Racing Ireland originally hoped for racing to resume around mid-April, but this was pushed back as the country continues to face the global health crisis.
But, the government announced that it would allow racing to resume behind closed doors starting next month. This, of course, came with several measures in place including strict rules on racing personnel in attendance.
“We are grateful to be one of the sectors permitted to go back to work and acknowledge the responsibility on everybody in racing to ensure the events are run in a safe way,” Brian Kavanagh, Horse Racing Ireland chief executive, said.
“We know from our own experience in March when we safely ran ten meetings behind closed doors—and from what is happening in other countries like France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and America—that racing can be staged safely within the requirements of social distancing,” he added.
Among the measures in place is a requirement for all attending staff to submit themselves to a health screening in advance, as well as a thermal temperature screening upon arrival. Any person with a temperature higher than 37c will not be allowed to attend.
Horse Racing Ireland will also require the mandatory wearing of face coverings for on-track personnel such as security staff, medical professionals, stall handlers, and jockeys. Individuals over 70 years of age will not be allowed into the racing venues for the time being. Social distancing measures will also be enforced by a coronavirus protocol officer at each fixture. All surfaces will be disinfected regularly before, throughout, and after the race day. All indoor areas will be kept well-ventilated as well