As the Kentucky Derby is set to take place this weekend, Churchill Downs has released an operations plan revealing how the event will go down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Derby will allow under 23,000 guests to attend, with no general admission provided. The infield will be closed and any general admission tickets that had been purchased will be refunded.
The Kentucky Derby will have reserved seating for those who wish to attend. This will be limited at 40% capacity. The traditional standing-room-only tickets are not offered this year. The crowd size will be quite small compared to the usual event but at least the event is allowing patrons. Many sports are restricting events to zero fans in order to ensure there are not outbreaks of the coronavirus.
In a news release, Kevin Flanery, the President of the Churchill Downs Racetrack, commented that reducing the size of the crowd is important to creating a safe environment. Medical best practices and protocols will be implemented and adjustments will be made up to Derby Day as the facility finds ways to improve.
What to Expect
Those visiting the Churchill Downs facility for the Kentucky Derby should expect certain steps to be taken to ensure safety and health of guests. Temperature checks will take place along with medical questionnaires. Physical distancing will be in place and face coverings will be mandatory.
Guests will be given a special bag titled Healthy at the Track. This bag will include a disposable mask as well as a small hand sanitizer and personal stylus. The stylus can be used to place wagers without touching the kiosks.
Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed within the facility and pari-mutuel tellers will be spaced out for social distancing. Personal protective equipment will be in place for safe betting transactions. Guests are encouraged to use the TwinSpires site to place wagers online.
As far as concessions are concerned, the facility will limit the options to prepackaged food items. Other locations on-site will offer meal packages and plated meals from predetermined menus. Guests are encouraged to use neighborhood parking as the shuttles that normal provide transport to the track will not be running at this time.
Churchill Downs is committed to providing a safe environment. They are prepared to warn offenders if they are caught breaking the rules. Those who continually do not follow protocol will be removed from the premises.