Racing will take place as scheduled at Leicester next week, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.
Due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the area, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday evening that all non-essential businesses in and around Leicester would have to close again, with schools following suit from Thursday.
Racing at Leicester on Tuesday evening went ahead following morning consultation between local health authorities and the BHA – although some trainers were unhappy at the card taking place, and races had to be started without stalls because of an inadequate number of stalls handlers.
In a statement on Friday, the BHA said “it remains the case the local lockdown has effectively reinstated restrictions as they were on June 14. Racing was permitted at this time in accordance with UK government guidelines, and therefore racing fixtures are permitted to go ahead in the region”.
It added that “the sport’s detailed safety measures, which include health screening of all attendees and strict social distancing protocols, will be in place at the fixture. The focus of these measures is to safeguard officials, participants and local communities.”
The BHA said that alongside discussions with local authorities, it has also engaged with representative bodies regarding the issues arising from local lockdowns. A protocol has been agreed which facilitates cross-industry engagement following announcement of a local lockdown.
However, as a result of the decision to proceed with an earlier protocol, owners will not be able to attend the Leicester fixture on July 7, as admission of owners to racing fixtures was not permitted on June 14.
The BHA said Racetech has confirmed a team of stalls handlers will be provided for the fixture in order to ensure races can be started from starting stalls.
The decision will remain under review should circumstances change significantly in the local area.
A spokesperson said: “We are grateful for the input of representative bodies in developing our protocols for responding to local lockdowns. Everyone in the sport remains in agreement that safety is the number one priority while racing’s behind closed doors resumption continues.
“The sport’s strict health screening and social distancing protocols continue to ensure that racecourses are amongst the most controlled of workplaces, and that local communities are not affected by behind closed doors fixtures.”