According to the new ‘Living with COVID’ plan, crowds at Irish racecourses are set to be limited to a maximum of 500 spectators for the next six months.
Brian Kavanagh, Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive, described this move as a ‘real concern’ for both Irish tracks and sports, as 500 is not a sustainable number for many racecourses that have already gone six months without a paying attendance.
“It’s a real concern. Racecourses can survive one shock, but if you say to a track that you’ll lose a big festival meeting for a second time that creates a real problem”, he added.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin outlined the five stages of ‘Living with COVID’ plan which should cover the upcoming months. Ireland is currently in Level 2, the second-lowest stage, except for Dublin, which is considered to be on Level 2.5, according to Martin.
The plan will allow for 200 extra people at racecourses if the country progresses to Level One.
If the number of Covid-19 affected citizens increases, horseracing will continue behind closed doors, and all sports events would be paused if Level Five, the most severe, is reached.