Coronavirus: Special hygiene measures in place as racing fixtures continue

By Cornelius LysaghtBBC horse racing correspondent
Racegoers using hand sanitiser
Racegoers using hand sanitiser at Cheltenham Racecourse

Enhanced hygiene measures used at jump racing's Cheltenham Festival have been extended to all racecourses as the sport continues to hold fixtures.

Regulator the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) provided all trainers, jockeys, racecourses and other race-day participants with information.

The BHA said hand sanitiser stations and extra signage are being installed.

On Monday, for the first time in Britain a race meeting will held behind closed doors at Kelso.

At the meeting, officials will comply with Scottish regulations to reduce gatherings to 500 or fewer.

The public is already barred from courses in Ireland and certain venues in France and Hong Kong.

The spokesman added the authority was continuing to follow government advice for "business as usual", but it was too early to comment whether the Grand National would take place at Aintree on 4 April as scheduled.

"British racing continues to be in close contact with the UK government and has been following their advice to continue with business as usual, subject to public health guidance," the BHA said in a statement on Friday.

"We are aware of the decisions taken by a number of sports today to suspend fixtures in advance of any government decision coming into effect.

"Racing's leaders are monitoring the situation daily and are currently considering a range of options in this rapidly developing situation. Contingency plans are ready as required.

"We are seeking further guidance from the Scottish government after their decision yesterday to ban outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people to protect the resilience of critical emergency services.

"Prior to receiving detailed advice from Scottish government, racing at Kelso on Monday will be behind closed doors. The number of staff and participants will be below the Scottish government's figure of 500 for outdoor gatherings."

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