The move to Level Zero Covid-19 restrictions will have a limited impact on the number of racing fans Musselburgh Racecourse can welcome over its crucial summer season.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday (Wed 13 July) that restrictions in Scotland would be eased from 19 July, but conditions on crowds attending outdoor events will prevent the East Lothian course from significantly boosting numbers.
Rules around social distancing and the requirement that anyone consuming alcohol must be seated, effectively means that the next three race days at Musselburgh scheduled for 25 and 30 July and 6 August, will be capped at around 1000 people.
The East Lothian course is hoping that the lifting of further restriction due to take place on 9 August will mean that their prime race meeting, Stobo Castle Ladies Day on Friday 20 August, will be able to host a crowd of 5000.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said that while Musselburgh and the four other Scottish racecourse understand the Government’s approach, the Scottish racing industry is now at a disadvantage to other UK tracks which are now operating normally.
He said: “The summer racing calendar is the mainstay of racing in Scotland and provides a revenue stream which sustains our racecourses throughout the year.
“The lifting of certain restrictions yesterday means that at Musselburgh we would be permitted to have up to 1,500 visitors, but with the need for those guests to be seated at all times when consuming alcohol, we are logistically unable to accommodate that many people and so will have to limit attendance to only 1,000.
“We are hopeful that from 9 August those restrictions will be lifted and we can welcome back larger crowds which are vital to Musselburgh and other Scottish courses if we are to begin the long road to economic recovery.
“We will continue to work within all the relevant agencies and adhere to regulations for the safety of our staff and participants, whilst navigating a way through the negative impact that continued restrictions is having across all our Scottish courses.”
For more information visit Musselburgh Racecourse’s social media channels or website.