Chester Racecourse unveils mass testing programme for May return of spectators

Chester Racecourse could test up to 5,000 attendees per day as part of plans to welcome back spectators this May.

Chester Race Company Ltd has developed an innovative mass lateral flow testing programme which, if required, could test all the thousands of patrons expected each day at the 2021 Boodles May Festival, which is set for May 5-7.

The racecourse is also developing a series of fully socially distanced race day experiences and plans to utilise the latest technological advancements to bring racing fans back to the sport safely.

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. Attendance will be limited to around 5,000 per day compared to the usual 13-15,000.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

“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, said: “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.”