LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Churchill Downs confirmed Wednesday there will be spectators in the stands for the 146th Kentucky Derby.
A 62-page guide has been prepared for fans detailing restrictions and reductions in crowd size to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The world is in a different place, so we’re all dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re dealing with issues of a quality and injustice,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “And so we want to make the Derby something that we can come together. A unifying event as we move forward. But it will be different, we know that. We think it’s important we come together as a community and look to the future.”
The announcement comes 24 days before the Derby and just a week after the Indy 500 decided to race with no spectators later this month.
After drawing a record crowd of more than 170,000 in 2015, this Derby will be much more exclusive.
A maximum of only 23,000 people will be allowed.
There will be no General Admission tickets issued with no admittance to the infield, and no standing room only in places like the paddock.
Face masks, previously just a recommendation, are now mandatory.
“Mask requirements are the same regardless of whether you’re seated in a box outdoors or a table inside unless consuming food and beverage,” Tonya Abeln, Churchill Downs Communication VP said. “So that piece will be consistent throughout.”
Seating areas will be restricted to 40-percent capacity, and fans will have to remain in their ticketed areas.
There will be no walking around except to concession stands and restrooms.
Anyone caught in violation will be given a warning the first time. If there’s a second violation, they will be escorted out.
And depending on the spread of the virus, further adjustments to the Derby plan could still be coming.