Fixtures will continue behind closed doors in all areas affected by the Government’s new Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, the British Horseracing Authority has confirmed.
A BHA statement was published on Saturday night following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that much of south-east England, already subject to Tier 3 arrangements, will move into a stricter Tier 4 for two weeks from Sunday.
That effectively means a return to the lockdown measures which prevailed nationally last month, in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the pandemic during Britain’s latest wave of the virus.
Several major meetings – including Kempton’s Ladbrokes Christmas Festival, headlined by the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day – are set to take place in the areas affected, and were therefore already scheduled to do so without crowds following their previous move into Tier 3 earlier this week.
Saturday’s statement from racing’s national governing body read: “A Government official has confirmed to the BHA tonight that Tier 4 is equivalent to the restrictions that applied to elite sports in the second national lockdown in November.
“Racing will continue behind closed doors in Tier 4 in England – with no spectators and owners subjected to the same restrictions as in November, which limit attendance to a maximum of 45 on the course at any point.
“Owners attending must comply with the BHA’s protocols as well as national guidance, and satisfy themselves that their travel to, and attendance at, race meetings is legitimately linked to their business involvement in British racing.
“Each individual racecourse will provide information specific to their events – which owners are asked to check before attending.”
The BHA continues to stress the importance of awareness for all of up-to-date guidelines and policy, adding in the statement: “All those attending racing behind closed doors, including participants, are asked to note the Government’s latest statements about the risks of virus transmission and ensure they continue to follow racing’s protocols.
“The BHA and racecourses will continue to liaise with Government, Public Health England and local Safety Advisory Groups and keep the situation under review. We will share any further relevant details as and when we have them.”