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Horse racing in Ireland, behind closed doors, is to resume on 8th June, under strict protocols set out by the Government.

Following consultation between Horse Racing Ireland and the Government, the resumption of the sport has been brought forward from the 29th June date announced last week by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Horse Racing Ireland’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh had stressed to Government that Irish racing could again be safely staged behind closed doors, just as it had been for 10 meetings before the March shutdown.

Horse Racing Ireland has welcomed the confirmation from the Government that race fixtures in Ireland can resume behind closed doors on June 8.

HRI has announced that only key personnel necessary to run the fixture will be permitted to be on site where they will be subject to strict Covid-19 protocols. All those in attendance will be subject to health surveying in advance and thermal temperature screening on entry.

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:

“We are grateful to be one of the sectors permitted to go back to work and acknowledge the responsibility on everybody in racing to ensure the events are run in a safe way.

“We know from our own experience in March when we safely ran ten meetings behind closed doors – and from what is happening in other countries like France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and America – that racing can be staged safely within the requirements of social distancing.”

Among the new protocols that will be enforced when fixtures restart behind closed doors in Ireland are:

1. Only key personnel will be permitted to attend race fixtures.
2. All attendees will be subject to health screening in advance and thermal temperature screening on arrival – anyone presenting with elevated temperatures will be denied access and instructed to consult with their GP.
3. Mandatory wearing of face coverings for many attendees including jockeys, stalls handlers, medical professionals, security staff, those working inside etc.
4. Social distancing will be strictly enforced by a dedicated Covid-19 protocol officer at each fixture.

Horse Racing Ireland will publish full protocols tomorrow and on Sunday will release a revised fixture list up to the end of June, including confirmation on when the Classics, traditionally scheduled for this time of year, will be run.

Racing restarted behind closed doors in Germany on May 7 and in France on May 11, while in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong the industry continued operating behind closed doors. In Britain, the British Horseracing Authority plans to resume racing on June 1.

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