Breeders’ Cup Limited announced a detailed set of health and safety protocols put in place to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 for the limited staff, participants and essential personnel who will be on site at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course.
This plan was developed in consultation with Keeneland, local and state government officials, and public health experts, including Dr. Richard Greenberg – Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. The plan closely follows the guidance established by the Healthy at Work requirements for venues and event spaces, bars and restaurants established by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Last month, Breeders’ Cup announced that the event will be run without spectators to protect the health and safety of employees, racing participants, those caring for the horses and the broader Lexington community. To this end, 2020 World Championships attendance will be limited to racing participants and essential personnel only. “The health and safety of our participants, employees, athletes, associates and the broader Lexington community are our top priorities,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “We are proud to be in a position to conduct the 2020 World Championships in a safe manner and allow the top horses from around the world to come together and compete for $31 million in purses and awards over two days of best-in-class racing. It’s a testament to the hard work put in by our entire team and many others, as well as the resiliency of the broader Thoroughbred industry.”
“The important health and safety measures and capacity restrictions that Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland have put in place for this year’s event, including testing, face coverings, physical distancing and medical screening requirements, will go a long way in protecting the wellbeing of the limited number of attendees,” said Dr. Greenberg.
Highlights of Breeders’ Cup’s health and safety protocols for the 2020 World Championships include:
• Breeders’ Cup will provide complimentary testing onsite at Keeneland for participants, media, vendors and staff. All those who will be on site are encouraged to take advantage of this testing.
• All staff, trainers and personnel accessing the Rice Road stable area will be required to present a negative test prior to entering the stable area.
• Daily health checks will be conducted at Keeneland entry points. These medical screenings include a medical questionnaire and a contactless temperature check. Only those who have successfully completed these medical screenings will be permitted to enter the grounds.
• Everyone entering the facility will be required to wear a cloth face covering or protective mask and may only remove to actively eat or drink.
• Hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless whenever possible, will be placed at key entrances and contact areas.
• Building Services staff will clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces using EPA registered disinfectants on a regular basis. High touch point areas, including all seating, tabletops, other tabletop items, door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, phones, pens, and keypads will be cleaned on a constant rotation.
• In-person events surrounding the World Championships have been greatly scaled back and cancelled in most cases.
• The Keeneland Grandstand encompasses over 47,000 square feet of space, allowing for ample physically distancing for the limited number of people who will be on site. Participants will be required to practice proper distancing and stay six feet apart from other parties; this will be strictly enforced.
• All seating will be assigned – all seats and tables will be predetermined and physically distanced.
• Out-of-state or International jockeys must be in Lexington by Wednesday, Nov. 4 to receive COVID-19 test onsite by 7:00 p.m. ET. Jockeys have also been encouraged to get their influenza vaccinations prior to coming to Lexington.
• All out-of-state or international jockeys must also have RT-PCR COVID-19 nasopharyngeal test conducted in the racing jurisdiction they are presently riding in taken within 72 hours before arrival in Kentucky and the test must show a negative result.
• In-state jockeys will have a COVID-19 test completed on Wednesday, Nov. 4 and must have a negative result in order to ride during the Championships.
• Breeders’ Cup will maintain records to allow for contact tracing via a “Virtual Badge” app.
• All those who are feeling sick are encouraged to stay home.
• Access to the stable area, paddock, winner’s circle and all indoor spaces will be restricted to authorized credentials.
• Dining options will be limited to plated and individually wrapped food items and beverages.
• Participants will be encouraged to wager through Breeders’ Cup’s official online wagering provider, TVG, or other online providers, rather than betting in person.
• Signage and visual markers will be placed throughout the facility stressing mandatory masks/face coverings, hand washing and physical distancing.
• These protocols will be stringently enforced on site.
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Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland remain flexible and are continuing to monitor the evolving situation in coordination with authorities to determine whether additional measures will be needed in order to hold the event in a safe and secure manner.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships is set to take place Nov. 6 – 7 and will air live on NBC and NBCSN.