Raceday COVID-19 measures to be eased in England

25 Jan 2022 BHA Features Financial/Political

COVID-19 measures are set to be eased at racecourses in England from Thursday 27 January, in line with the lifting of UK Government Plan B restrictions.Face coverings will still be strongly recommended, particularly in close-contact operational areas such as the Weighing Room, parade ring and racecourse stables, but their use will no longer be enforced anywhere on the racecourse.Racecourses in England will also be able to drop Government-mandated COVID Status Certification, which currently applies to all fixtures attracting more than 4,000 racegoers.Weighing Room complexAccess to the Weighing Room will continue to be tightly managed, with evidence of a negative lateral flow test required for entry and social distancing measures in place.These controls will continue to protect business-critical personnel from the risk of transmission as measures are eased elsewhere on course.The Weighing Room protocols, including mandatory lateral flow testing, will be reviewed again no later than Monday 14 February, with the view to further easing if circumstances allow.Scotland and WalesDifferent rules continue to apply in Scotland and Wales, with attendees at race meetings required to wear face coverings in all indoor areas, including the Weighing Room. COVID passes may also be needed for large-scale events.Attendees at Scottish and Welsh fixtures are advised to familiarise themselves with national COVID-19 restrictions and, where necessary, check with the racecourse.Explaining the upcoming changes, BHA Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, said:  “COVID-19 has not gone away, but with cases continuing to fall we have been able to review our existing mitigations and feel that, in line with government guidance in England, we can now recommend rather than mandate the use of face coverings.“We must, however, continue to do all we can to protect our business-critical workforce. Testing for Weighing Room workers remains a necessary precaution, especially as other measures are eased on course and across wider society.“This will be kept under continual review; however, through this mechanism, positive cases have been identified in asymptomatic individuals, which might otherwise have resulted in viral transmission in the weighing room.“We are grateful to jockeys and all weighing room personnel for their ongoing cooperation in this process – the need to protect each other’s health and livelihoods is clearly high on everyone’s priority list.“Of course, vaccination remains the most effective means of protecting ourselves from serious illness and therefore something that is strongly encouraged for all racegoers. It is also sensible for non-weighing room personnel to test regularly to ensure you are not infectious when on course.”