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Chester Race Company Charts Out Safety Plans For Boodles May Festival

By Taruka Srivastav | February 16, 2021

Chester Race Company Ltd has announced plan to be able to safely welcome back racegoers for Boodles May Festival, 5 – 7 May 2021.

The oldest operating racecourse in the world is leading the way in developing plans to be able to bring racing fans back to the Roodee for the 2021 Boodles May Festival.


Chester Race Company Ltd have developed a sector leading mass lateral flow testing programme which, if required, could test up to 5,000 attendees per day at the 2021 Boodles May Festival. The racecourse is also developing a series of fully socially distanced race day experiences and will utilise the latest technological advancements to bring racing fans back to the sport safely.


Racing started in Chester on Shrove Tuesday in 1539 and in nearly 500 years there have only been three major stoppages; the English Civil War, World War 1 and World War 2. When racing was reinstated in 1946 at Chester the pent- up demand resulted in a record attendance of 103,993 racegoers on Cup Day.


The Boodles May Festival operational plan could deliver the highest standard in customer care and safety, with all 5,000 attendees per day to be tested for COVID-19 on-site on arrival. The mass-venue testing could take place in three separate testing sites, enabling 1,800 lateral flow tests per hour to take place at the racecourse.


All attendees would be assigned a specific testing site and allocated entry time – avoiding congestion on entry and ensuring social distancing is observed at all times. Staggered exit times would also be implemented for a safe departure, with a one-way system in place across the entire venue throughout the festival.


Once in their assigned enclosure, racegoers will be assigned a seating area and remain within their enclosure for the day, maintaining social distancing guidelines. Each guest will be provided a dedicated space, with all-weather cover, where they can enjoy top class racing and Chester’s fabulous hospitality.


Food and beverage and bookmaking facilities will be available in all enclosures and subject to racecourse safety protocols. Contactless order and collection points will be implemented in general admission enclosures, with all serving staff across the venue wearing the appropriate PPE.

Richard Thomas, Chief Executive of Chester Race Company commented: “We have been working very hard with local authorities to build a clear operational procedure plan that 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 within minutes.”

“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”.

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