Racecourse reveals plans to Covid test 5,000 a day to help fans return

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  • A racecourse has revealed plans to test up to 5,000 people a day for coronavirus to help bring back racing fans.

    Chester Race Company, which owns Chester and Bangor-on-Dee racecourses, has developed a testing programme to be used as part of plans for spectators to attend the 2021 Boodles May Festival.

    Plans for the festival, held from 5-7 May at Chester racecourse, would also include social distancing measures and racegoers would be restricted to specified areas.

    “We have been working very hard with local authorities to build a clear operational procedure plan that could allow us to safely welcome back a limited number of spectators for the Boodles May Festival,” said Chester Race Company chief executive Richard Thomas.

    “The delivery of mass on-site testing is at the core of our stringent health and safety measures. Chester Racecourse could provide on-site testing facilities for 5,000 attendees per day, with results within minutes.”

    The plan involves a lateral flow testing programme that would take place in three separate testing sites at the racecourse, processing 1,800 tests per hour, and all attendees would be given a set time and location for their test.

    There would be a one-way system throughout the festival, racegoers will be assigned a seating area and will remain within their enclosure for the day, and there will also be staggered exit times.

    Food, drink and betting will be available in all enclosures, subject to racecourse safety protocols, along with contactless order and collection points, and serving staff across the venue will have appropriate PPE.

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    “Our overall aim is to deliver a safe, secure environment for an enjoyable three days of racing and we hope that testing will give an added confidence to our attendees, customers, and staff, whose health and safety is of paramount importance,” Mr Thomas added.

    “We’re proud of our innovative approach here at Chester and are keen to be one of the first venues to be able to bring crowds back safely to live sport. Chester is known for providing a unique race day experience for all attendees and we have developed a number of new socially distanced concepts, which will deliver an exemplary level of safety and service”.

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