LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Only guests with reserved seats will be able to attend the 146th Kentucky Derby, according to a release from Churchill Downs. In a 62-page health and safety plan released Wednesday, the track announced that the infield will be closed and there will be no General Admission this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The release said attendance for this year’s Derby will be less than 14% of the track’s total capacity event record, which was hit in 2015. Reserved seating will be limited to 40% and Standing Room Only tickets are no longer available.
“The opportunity to safely welcome back a limited number of guests to Churchill Downs on the first week of September is a privilege that our team doesn’t take for granted,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery in the release. “Our extensive plan meets or exceeds all recommended state and local guidelines.”
Previously purchased General Admission tickets will be refunded, according to the release.
Churchill Downs will have several health and safety protocols in place for Kentucky Derby attendees. Temperature checks, medical questionnaires, social distancing and masks will be required to enter the track. The release said each guest will receive a “Healthy at the Track” bag, which will include a disposable mask, hand sanitizer and a personal stylus to be used at self-service wagering stations.
Food options will be limited to mostly pre-packaged foods at concession stands and several Derby Week activities, including Taste of Derby and the Survivors Parade have been canceled.
Dawn at the Downs will be held on Aug. 31 and will be limited to guests with reserved seats only.
The full plan can be read online and includes details on sanitization, cleaning and disinfecting practices that will be followed at Churchill Downs.
During a conference call held in July about Churchill Downs’s quarterly earnings, officials said the racetrack lost $149.4 million from rescheduling the Derby from May to September and $13.5 million from Derby City Gaming suspending operations.
Churchill Downs postponed the Kentucky Derby from the first Saturday in May to Sept. 5 due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.