Doncaster crowd asked to follow 15 rules- and not cheer winners
Doncaster will become the first racecourse to welcome back spectators in six months, with day one of the St Leger meeting set to go ahead as planned.
The track, hosting the final Classic race of the Flat season at the weekend, is holding a pilot event for crowds at sporting venues this afternoon.
The seven-race card comes just hours after the government announced social gatherings in England would be cut to a maximum of six people from Monday, amid concerns over rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
Boris Johnson will expand on the plans at a 4pm briefing from Downing Street.
"The Prime Minister is going to set out more details on the consequences of new rules for six people gathering later today," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast.
"We'll set out what this means for some of these events that we were planning to do."
By the time of the press conference, there will be one race left on the Doncaster programme, where more than 2,500 spectators have been asked to follow a set of 15 rules.
Cheering home a winner has been banned by officials, to help avoid the spread of Covid-19 – and punters can celebrate with a clap instead.
Masks have to be worn on arrival, exit, when in a queue, visiting the bar, bookmakers or a toilet.
All payments within the racecourse will be cashless, apart from when placing bets.
The 15 rules for spectators
– Observe 2m social distancing protocols at all times
– Celebrate with a silent cheer and a clap, instead of cheering
– Avoid face to face contact with other spectators as well as hugs and high fives
– Wear a mask on arrival, exit, in a queue, when visiting the bar, bookmakers or toilet
– Comply with any health checks that may be required on entering the racecourse
– Allow your temperature to be taken on entry if required
– Regularly wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face
– Do not remove hand sanitizer or other personal hygiene products from their location
– Make cashless payments for services apart from bets with the bookmakers
– Do not gather away from your allocated area, at the rail of the race track for example
– Make sure all walkways, corridors and doorways etc are clear before you walk through
– Use the smoking circles on course if necessary
– Make sure all of the facilities you need are available within the area you have booked
– Follow all signage and instructions from staff, officials or any emergency service personnel present
– Do not try to access areas of the racecourse apart from the area detailed on your ticket
Bookmakers are permitted to pay out winnings using sanitised cash.
The police, NHS, Public Health England and licensing have been working together to ensure the four-day festival proceeds with high level resources in place.
Director of Public Health for Doncaster, Dr Rupert Suckling, said yesterday: “I appreciate this decision is one that will divide people in Doncaster and maybe further afield given the strength of feeling of both sides of this debate.
"However from a Public Health perspective, I insisted on stringent tests being met before I could be assured and confident that the event should proceed with spectators."
Doncaster has two new areas for its visitors, 'the lawn' and the 'winning post', with allocation details on entry tickets.
Racegoers will be given a wristband and shown to their table, which has a mobile phone scanning facility for ordering drinks.
Goodwood was due to be the first racecourse to hold a trial last month, but it was scrapped at the last minute.
Doncaster's feature contest of the meeting is the Pertemps St Leger Stakes.
Established in 1776, Saturday's Group 1 race is the oldest and longest of Britain's five Classics.
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