SportsRace to the Derby


Churchill Downs sets pandemic safety measures for Derby Weekend

Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 18:56:17-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — It’s safe to say it’s a Derby Weekend like no other. There are no public spectators allowed and several precautions have been taken to keep people safe.

“It’s kind of an eerie feeling,” said JoAnn Sandbach.

For 55 years, Sandbach has managed First Aid Services at the Kentucky Derby.

“I have seen things change tremendously this year,” said Sandbach. “Normally, this area here would be so crowded you probably wouldn’t have been able to stand if the crowd was already in.”

Along with a smaller crowd, other safety measures taken include having nurses and doctors on the grounds and signs all around telling people to practice social distancing and to wear masks. Also, as people go through security, their temperature is checked. If they have a high temperature, there are COVID-19 isolation tents they’ll be brought to so their symptoms can be monitored.

“If there is somebody we think that’s a possibility, they’re only going to be here for a few minutes because we are either going to get them a ride or if they’re ill we’re going to take them to the hospital. We have an ambulance for that,” said Sandbach

She hopes everyone that is at Churchill Downs can still enjoy the weekend even with all the changes.

“The owners are proud of their horses,” said Sandbach. "They’ve worked hard to get to the Oaks and Derby and I want their and their family to be able to enjoy the Oaks Day and Derby Day. I want them to enjoy the atmosphere even though it doesn’t look the same."