In response to recent developments with the coronavirus, Churchill Downs is adjusting its plan for the Kentucky Derby. This morning, the racetrack announced that there will be no general admission to the September 5 event, meaning the infield will be closed. All in all, less than 23,000 fans will be allowed in, approximately 14% of the maximum capacity.
Reserved seating will be limited to a maximum of 40% occupancy. Also, Standing Room Only or “Walk Around” tickets have been eliminated. All outdoor ticket holders will be reseated in a new comparable location either prior to or during the event to provide for maximum distancing. Those who already purchased general admission tickets will receive a refund.
“The opportunity to safely welcome back a limited number of guests to Churchill Downs on the first week of September is a privilege that our team doesn’t take for granted,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our extensive plan meets or exceeds all recommended state and local guidelines. We’ve received an exceptional level of support from regulators, medical experts and public health authorities and we’ll continue to carefully work with them to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep our customers, employees and communities safe.
“We will have fewer guests at this year’s Derby as reducing the size of the crowd is an important step to ensuring a safe environment. Medical best practices and protocols – many of which we have applied in consultation with experts both inside and outside the sports industry – will be implemented, and we’ll make adjustments all the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to improve and continue to adhere to ever-evolving best practices.”
Churchill Downs released a 62-page health and safety plan for the event. Here are a few of highlights:
• Attendance will be limited with no Standing Room Only or “Walk Around” tickets and a maximum of 40% occupancy of reserved seats.
• There will be no general admission tickets throughout Kentucky Derby Week. Attendance will be limited to guests with reserved seats. The Infield will be closed on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days.
• Wearing cloth face coverings will be mandatory throughout the entire venue, both indoors and outdoors, when not actively consuming food or beverage.
• Everyone entering Churchill Downs will be screened via a medical questionnaire and a contactless thermometer. Individuals with a temperature in excess of 100 degrees will be prohibited from entering Churchill Downs.
• Personal-use hand sanitizers will be provided upon entry and more than 500 hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the facility.
• Signage will be displayed throughout the venue to encourage healthy practices and staff and security will move about the facility to monitor conditions and assist customers.
• Access throughout the facility will be severely limited. Entry points to any seating sections beyond designated seating areas throughout the facility will be eliminated.
• Seating with up to 40% capacity will be repositioned to provide for greater distancing.
• Pari-mutuel tellers will be properly spaced and provided PPE for betting transactions. Guests are encouraged to wager online through TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering platform of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
• Options from concession stands will be limited to mostly pre-packaged foods. Plated meals and meal packages from pre-set menus will be served in other locations.
• With the reduced capacity, guest shuttles from offsite parking locations are being eliminated and guests are encouraged to utilize neighborhood-parking options. Refunds will be made to all attending ticket holders that had offsite parking included with a reserved seat.
• The stable area will be restricted to essential personnel. Guests and parties in the stable area for morning workouts and during race days will be prohibited.
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