Live horse racing will resume at Southern California’s Santa Anita Park on Friday after receiving approval from Los Angeles County health officials. But there won’t be spectators in the stands.
The track can resume operations only under specific protocols, park officials said in a statement. This includes mandatory face masks, daily health screenings like temperature checks, social distancing and increased sanitation procedures.
The park has also created a “Restricted Zone” to house jockeys, valets and other essential personnel who must first test negative for coronavirus before they can access it.
Santa Anita Park has been closed since March 27 under the state’s stay-home order that shuttered nonessential businesses to help combat coronavirus.
The return of horse racing came after the Los Angeles County health officials announced that recreational facilities including golf courses, tennis courts, shooting and archery ranges, equestrian centers, and community gardens can now reopen. Los Angeles County beaches were also reopened on Wednesday for active recreational use.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued one of the earliest statewide stay-at-home orders in March to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Los Angeles County is expected to remain under some sort of stay-at-home order for months, according to Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “With all certainty,” the order will be extended another three months, Ferrer said, though restrictions will continue to be gradually lifted.
Los Angeles County’s current order holds until May 15, but the stay-at-home order in California is open-ended.