The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has updated its COVID-19 guidelines and operating procedures that will apply at British race meetings from 19 July, following the lifting of coronavirus measures in the UK.

This follows the publication yesterday of specific guidance for sports and large events in England, and announcements from the Scottish and Welsh governments about their own plans for easing COVID-19 measures, with the BHA having already reaffirmed its commitment to staff safety as sporting venues begin to reopen.

Racing’s protocols have been revised in line with government requirements, with some additional infection prevention and control measures remaining in place, particularly around the Weighing Room Complex, to safeguard the industry from the risk of COVID-related disruption.

Elsewhere on course, racing will continue to recommend the use of mitigations to keep participants and racegoers safe, including face coverings in enclosed and crowded areas, social distancing where practicable, increased ventilation, and regular hand sanitising.

Participants are also encouraged to bolster their protection and reduce the risk of transmission by accepting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and completing regular lateral flow tests to identify positive cases in advance of raceday.

“Racing has demonstrated throughout the pandemic our ability to conduct race meetings safely and sensibly, with participants adapting quickly to new processes and following rigorously the infection control measures in place,” noted the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill.

“While the full return of spectators and the further easing of restrictions is welcome, with cases continuing to rise, racing must do what we can to protect our people and industry – especially against the ongoing risk of 10-day self-isolation for close contacts of infected individuals.

“The best way to bolster protection is through vaccination, accompanied by regular lateral flow testing, but we will also retain some measures on course to help protect those participants working in higher-risk indoor areas, particularly the Weighing Room Complex.

“As ever, I want to thank everyone for their adherence to the protocols and continuing to behave responsibly on course. Avoiding disruption to the racing industry must remain our utmost priority – and everyone can play their part in this respect.”

The BHA has encouraged racegoers to digest the guidance, with social distancing continuing to be required by the government on racecourses in Scotland, with participants and racegoers in England and Wales recommended to avoid close contact where possible.

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