Date posted: April 28, 2021, 11:08 am
Last Updated: April 28, 2021, 11:20 am.
More than a week after Belmont Park was expected to welcome horse racing fans back, the New York circuit will finally get the opportunity this weekend.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced on Wednesday that the Long Island venue will be open to fans from Saturday. The NYRA announcement said the decision came after state officials "developed detailed health and safety protocols on the racetrack" to guide the re-opening process.
Racing fans have been banned from racing at NYRA for more than a year due to COVID-19.
NYRA has been working together on this goal since the beginning of the pandemic and we are delighted to welcome fans back to Belmont Park, said NYRA president and CEO Dave O'Rourke. "We thank our fans for their loyalty and support in this difficult year and look forward to the coming spring and summer."
To participate, individuals must purchase a $ 15 ticket in advance. Attendance will be limited to no more than 20 percent of the number of outdoor seating.
They must be fully vaccinated or show evidence of a negative COVID test to gain access. To be considered fully vaccinated, ticket holders must have received the last dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or at least a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine 14 days prior to the incident.
For a negative test, individuals must have either a PCR test performed within 72 hours of the event or a negative antigen test obtained within six hours prior to the event.
Fans must also complete a health questionnaire emailed within 12 hours 11 on Saturday I open the gate of ET. They also need to meet branding and social distancing requirements and undergo temperature control.
There is no target date
Earlier this month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the race tracks, both horse and car varieties, would be able to welcome fans again. The move seemed like a natural step as the state previously granted it to other major professional sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor.
On April 14, Cuomo said the racetrack regulations would take effect eight days later, coinciding with the Belmont spring opening date to meet.
However, the NYRA announced on April 21 that it cannot reopen to fans until it receives necessary guidance from the state.
Jonah Bruno, director of public information of the New York State Department of Health, said Casino.org the state released this information to NYRA on Tuesday. However, the link to the information provided indicated the date "from" April 24, two days after Cuomo said the NYRA would be able to accommodate fans.
It is uncertain when exactly the state handed this documentation over to race officials.
Belmont's capacity will increase in three weeks
Bruno had more good news for racing fans when he confirmed that Cuomo's announcement of the capacity increase at open-air sports events also applied to Belmont.
"Under recently announced guidelines for large outdoor venues, horse racing circuits and motor racing that can seat 2,500 or more people, it will be able to increase viewer capacity to 33 percent as of May 19," said Casino.org.
According to NYRA, the seating capacity of Belmont Park is 32,941.
This means, provided there are no other changes, there might just be less than 11,000 fans for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, set for June 5th. This number is also contingent on the track being able to handle a crowd of this size and will continue to follow the state's other COVID guidelines, including social distancing requirements.
The chance to attract more fans to the Belmont stand was a win for state senator Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens. Before Bruno made his statement, Addabbo, chairman of the Senate's Racing, Gaming and Betting Commission, said that while he enjoyed expanding capacity thresholds in casinos and elsewhere, he wanted it on open-air racecourses as well.
"It would of course be advisable if we just moved these people back to the spectator area for economic purposes only," Addabbo said. Casino.org . “We are looking at other areas and they have low positivity rates (COVID) that have been open for months. Jersey tracks have been open for months with a low positive rate. So let's follow science, let's follow pointers, let's follow the numbers, and let's do it. "