Musselburgh Racecourse will welcome spectators for the first time in more than a year at its next race meeting on Tuesday 25 May.
In a carefully managed event, the East Lothian track will admit 250 racing fans in the first steps towards lifting Covid-19 restrictions and resuming normal racing.
The racecourse has worked closely with the East Lothian Safety Advisory Group to establishing a raceday protocol, which can be amended as further restrictions are relaxed in the weeks ahead.
At the afternoon meeting on 25 May, alcohol and food can only be ordered and must be consumed at tables in a designate picnic area and a two-metre distancing rule will be enforced throughout the course.
Musselburgh also confirmed its hugely popular Stobo Castle Ladies Day has been moved from 6 August to Friday 20 August to maximise the enhanced safety benefits from the Government’s objective of having every adult vaccinated by the end of July.
A crowd limit for what is traditionally a sell-out even will be set once it becomes clear what restrictions, if, any may be in place in August.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “It has been a very challenging year for Musselburgh and all Scottish racecourses, and while our instinct is to welcome back as many racing fans as possible, we are erring on the side of caution by opting to admit only 250 visitors are our next meeting.
“The measures we have put in place underlines that the safety of our guests, racing industry personnel and our staff must come first, but we will use the meeting on 25 May as a template for going forward.
“No doubt we will learn what works best for hosting a race day for the general public against the backdrop of Covid-19 restrictions. We are confident we can offer an entertaining afternoon of live sport with ample space around the course to allow visitors to socially distance.”
Mr Farnworth stressed no bars or restaurants would be open and that food and alcohol would only be served at a designated seated picnic area. Visitors will not be allowed to enter the grounds with their own picnics.
He added: “Moving Stobo Castle Ladies Day to Friday 20 August is simply to give us the best chance of hosting our most popular race meeting in a more relaxed environment, and given that most people should by then have received their vaccinations, this should add an extra layer of comfort for racegoers.”
Guests who have already booked Ladies Day admission tickets for 6 August have been informed of the change of date and been issued refunds, and they will prioritised when rebooking for the 20 August event.
In June, Musselburgh hosts three racedays, including The Edinburgh Cup Raceday on Saturday 5 June, two afternoon meetings in July, and in August a further four meetings, including Stobo Castle Ladies Day. The racecourse will release details for these fixture as the relaxation of covid regulations develop.
Tickets for the race meetings on 25 May and 5 June go on sale on Thursday 13 May at 10am and are expected to sell out quickly. For a full fixture list and to book tickets, please visit the website.