Roodee COVID testing plan for fiends’ return


UK Chester Racecourse back with fans Image: Chester Racecourse

With the organizers of Chester’s (UK) horse races proposing mass onsite COVID-19 testing, the 2021 racing calendar is set to kickstart with about 5,000 fans witnessing the on track excitement live at Boodles May Races scheduled from May 5th to 7th.

The Chester Racecourse in Chester, UK, had canceled the 2020 edition of Boodles May Festival due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 which still continues to clobber the United Kingdom.

One of the most festive events at Chester Racecourse is the Boodles May Festival which opens the racing season at the iconic course which is also very picturesque.

Known as the Roodee, UK’s Chester Racecourse at Chester, England, on the river Dee close to the border with Wales, is officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest racecourse in the world still in operation.

Horse racing at Chester dates back to the early 16th century, with 1539 cited as the year racing began. It is also thought to be the smallest racecourse in England, only 1.8 km long. sources stated that the Chester Race Company Limited, owners of the iconic racecourse, had tweeted on February 15th its plan to conduct mass on-site COVID-19 testing in the hope to safely welcome racegoers to the three-day thriller – the Boodles May Festival – with an innovative lateral flow test upon entry and ensuring a fully socially distanced race day experience.

The racecourse is expecting that the tests will allow up to 5,000 spectators to attend on each of the three days of the Boodles May Festival. sources added that the company had announced in a statement that it had developed a “sector leading mass lateral flow testing program” upon entry for spectators at the three-day festival, with the results expected to be returned in less than 20 minutes.

With the recruitment of an adequate number of Safety and Health officials, the company hopes that 1,800 lateral flow tests per hour would take place at the racecourse in three separate sites, with all attendees assigned a specific site and allocated entry time.

In anticipation of the Government relaxing restrictions of the current lockdown in UK, the company is working overtime to create a safe environment for fans to view the spectacular races from up-close.

Richard Thomas, Chief Executive, Chester Race Company, said, “In anticipation of the Government’s roadmap announcement, we have been working very hard with the local authorities to build a clear operation procedure plan that hopefully could allow us to safely welcome back a limited number of spectators for the Boodles May Festival.”

“The delivery of mass on-site testing is at the core of our stringent health and safety measures. Chester Racecourse could provide on-site testing facilities for 5,000 attendees per day with results expected in less than 20 minutes,” he elucidated.

Thomas added, “Our overall aim is to deliver a safe, secure environment for an enjoyable three days of racing and we hope that testing will give an added confidence to our attendees, customers, and staff, whose health and safety is of paramount importance.”

“We’re proud of our innovative approach here at Chester and are keen to be one of the first venues to be able to bring crowds back safely to live sport. Chester is known for providing a unique race day experience for all attendees and we have developed a number of new socially distanced concepts which will deliver an exemplary level of safety and service – while ensuring the experience is the very best for all of our customers!” Thomas expounded.

Apart from the testing, Chester races said that it was making elaborate arrangements keeping in mind the health and safety of the racing enthusiasts in view of the Government eventually greenlighting the festival. As part of this preparedness, all racegoers would receive table service for all food and drinks. An all-weather awning would cover designated seating areas for everyone, and massive screens would ensure that everyone would be able to get close to the action and even personal book-making facilities.

Chester races has also planned for staggered arrival and departure times for spectators, contactless order and collection points for food and drinks would also be implemented across the course.

Thomas commented, “It will certainly be a ‘different’ racing experience this year – but it will be a very special one with absolute attention to detail to ensure our racegoers have the best experience possible – something we pride ourselves on always delivering here at Chester Racecourse.”

“We will, of course, be operating within all Government guidelines and hope the new experience which we are offering will be something which is welcomed by those attending whom we hope will not only feel safe and secure but will also be able to enjoy the best possible time at the racing,” he added.

The racecourse had become England’s first National Health Service’s (NHS) large-scale coronavirus mass vaccination center in the neighborhood recently.

Thomas concluded, “We were really keen to ensure that our local area could benefit from a mass vaccination center and are very pleased to be able to support the NHS with their essential vaccination program.”

The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly-funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom. Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation.

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