LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Churchill Downs Racetrack officials on Wednesday released a detailed 62-page health and safety operations plan that includes limited admission and no general admission at the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.
According to a release issued Wednesday morning, preordered general admission tickets will be refunded, and the infield will be closed.
Derby officials expect no more than 23,000 people to attend this year's event, roughly 14% of the record-setting crowd of more than 170,000 in 2015.
Reserved seating will also be limited to a maximum of 40% of its 60,000-seat occupancy. Standing room only or "walk around" tickets have been eliminated. All outdoor ticket holders will be reseated in a new comparable location either prior to or during the event to provide for maximum distancing, according to the release.
Temperature checks, medical questionnaires, physical distancing and mandatory face coverings will be required upon entrance and movement within the 190-acre Churchill Downs.
Each guest will receive a courtesy “Healthy at the Track” bag, which will include a disposable mask, a pocket-sized hand sanitizer and a personal stylus for non-contact self-service wagering.
Highlights of the plan include:
- Attendance will be limited with no "standing room only or “walk around” tickets, and a maximum of 40% occupancy of reserved seats.
- There will be no general admission tickets throughout Kentucky Derby Week. Attendance will be limited to guests with reserved seats. The Infield will be closed on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days.
- Wearing cloth face coverings will be mandatory throughout the entire venue, both indoors and outdoors, when not actively consuming food or beverage.
- Everyone entering Churchill Downs will be screened via a medical questionnaire and a contactless thermometer. Individuals with a temperature in excess of 100 degrees will be prohibited from entering Churchill Downs.
- Personal-use hand sanitizers will be provided upon entry and more than 500 hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the facility.
- Signage will be displayed throughout the venue to encourage healthy practices and staff and security will move about the facility to monitor conditions and assist customers.
- Access throughout the facility will be severely limited. Entry points to any seating sections beyond designated seating areas throughout the facility will be eliminated.
- Seating with up to 40% capacity will be repositioned to provide for greater distancing.
- Pari-mutuel tellers will be properly spaced and provided PPE for betting transactions. Guests are encouraged to wager online through TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering platform of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
- Options from concession stands will be limited to mostly pre-packaged foods. Plated meals and meal packages from pre-set menus will be served in other locations.
- With the reduced capacity, guest shuttles from off-site parking locations are being eliminated and guests are encouraged to utilize neighborhood-parking options. Refunds will be made to all attending ticket holders that had offsite parking included with a reserved seat.
- To reduce crowding, select Kentucky Derby Week activities have been eliminated including autograph signings, concerts in the Plaza, fashion contests, Taste of Derby, the Survivors Parade and the Red Carpet.
- Dawn at the Downs, the annual event to dine while observing morning workouts, has been moved to Monday, Aug. 31, and will be limited to guests with reserved seats; there will be no free general admission.
- Key programming elements will transition to digital platforms.
- The stable area will be restricted to essential personnel. Guests and parties in the stable area for morning workouts and during race days will be prohibited.
- Additional protocols for Stable Area personnel and race participants (jockeys, trainers, grooms, etc.) will be finalized in the coming days.