The Stronach Group, under the 1/ST brand, announced on Wednesday what it is doing to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak at its racetracks around the country, and what it plans to do in the future. Keeneland, Tampa Bay Downs, Sam Houston Race Park and Oaklawn Park also released plans for dealing with the virus.
The company's team is engaged in regular communications with local health agencies and is following the scientific guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The tracks, including Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in Maryland, and Gulfstream Park in Florida, have implemented a number of procedures and protocols designed to maintain a sanitary environment for all who use its facilities. Some of those measures include:
– Company Task Force – Creating a company-wide task force to monitor the situation in real time and to develop protocols to be carried out across all 1/ST venues and companies.
– Increased Hygiene Protocols – Emphasizing the importance of hand washing and hygiene for all guests and employees by increasing the signage posted in restrooms promoting best practices and adding new hand washing stations around our venues.
– Visible Hand-Sanitization Stations – Making hand sanitizer available and promoting its use.
– Increased Cleaning Schedules – By doubling-down on cleaning and disinfecting efforts on all high-touch areas and ensuring that the track's cleaning teams are working around the clock to sanitize those areas.
– Reduction of Surface Contact – By implementing a “Doors Open” policy whereby doors that are not required to be closed for security or safety reasons are left open, thereby eliminating the need for patrons to touch the doors and handles.
Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs has announced a number of proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of patrons, employees and horsemen during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and beyond.
The track is enhancing its sanitation protocols in accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to provide the safest environment possible for everyone working at the track and attending the races.
“We will continue to work closely with state and local officials, as well as national and local health organizations, to take necessary precautions as the situation evolves,” said Peter Berube, the track's Vice President-General Manager. “Nothing is more important than the health of our customers and employees, and we will continue to work toward minimizing the risks associated with the disease.”
Among the steps being taken:
- Increasing the number of public hand-sanitizing stations located throughout the racetrack.
- Enhancing standard sanitary protocols to include the use of hospital-grade disinfectants on surfaces as a means to minimize the spread of viruses.
- Emphasizing the importance of hand washing and hygiene for patrons and employees by increasing signage in restrooms promoting best practices.
- Increasing cleaning and disinfecting efforts on “high-touch” areas and working to sanitize those areas on a consistent, around-the-clock schedule.
- Using high-powered, infection-control equipment, including multiple electrostatic sprayers, for thorough cleaning.
- Opening doors that are not required to be closed for security or safety reasons, thereby reducing the need for patrons to touch doors and handles.
- Creating a company-wide task force to monitor the situation and develop additional plans to be carried out throughout the racetrack, the stable area, The Silks Poker Room and The Downs Golf Practice Facility.
Tampa Bay Downs encourages fans who are not feeling well or are reluctant to travel to Tampa Bay Downs during the outbreak to watch the races on an account wagering site such as TVG, NYRABets or DRF Bets, or to access race replays at www.tampabaydowns.com .
Patrons may sign up for an MBet account at the racetrack to eliminate the risk associated with standing in mutuel lines or placing cash wagers.
Sam Houston Race Park
In relation to the COVID-19 virus, Sam Houston Race Park will continue to closely monitor information from the Harris County Public Health Department, as well as the CDC.
All of the public areas at the track are cleaned on a regular basis, and the track asks all team members to follow safe sanitation protocols. For example, Sam Houston has instructed any team member who is sick to stay home, and for team members to wash their hands frequently while at work.
In addition, the following items have been implemented for further guest and team member safety:
– More frequent restroom cleaning
– Additional sanitation stations in high-volume areas
– Increased sanitation of door handles and railings
– More frequent cleaning of elevator buttons
– More frequent cleaning of self-service wagering machines
– Continued awareness among team members regarding cleanliness and sanitation
Sam Houston is committed to working with public health agencies and will adjust efforts as necessary.
There are no planned interruptions to the track's live racing or simulcast schedules at this time.
Keeneland Race Course
Bill Thomason, president and CEO of Keeneland Racetrack, issued the following information regarding the upcoming spring meet and coronavirus:
We value the trust you put in the Keeneland team and that is why I want to personally update you on the situation with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and the proactive steps we are taking to ensure your health and safety in advance of our Spring Meet. Please know that Keeneland is working closely with state and local officials as well as national and local health organizations to take all necessary precautions as the situation continues to evolve.
We are enhancing sanitation protocols, in accordance with the latest CDC guidance, to provide the safest environment possible for those planning to attend the meet. These steps include:
- Expanding our standard sanitary protocols to include the use of hospital-grade disinfectants on surfaces as a key means to minimize the spread of viruses;
- Increasing the number of public hand sanitizing stations located in all areas of the property; and
- Using high-power infection control equipment including multiple electrostatic sprayers.
As a further safety measure, Keeneland will offer several mobile options for you to consider during your visit this Spring:
- Guests may purchase tickets online through tickets.keeneland.com, which allows you to select a mobile ticket option and go paperless, skipping the lines at the admission gates and cash transactions;
- Tap to pay options will be available at all concession stands. Keeneland will accept wireless payments such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet and other wireless credit card options for contactless pay during the Spring Meet; and
- Keeneland Select offers the option to bet from your phone, meaning there is no need to visit mutuel lines or place cash wagers. You may access through keenelandselect.com or the Keeneland Select app in your iTunes store.
Transparency is key at Keeneland, and we are committed to providing you with regular updates as our Spring Meet approaches. To ensure you always have the latest information, we will be posting updates to our COVID-19 page on Keeneland.com.
Thank you for your continued support of Keeneland and the Thoroughbred community.
At Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, the safety of our guests and Team Members is our highest priority. As such, we are actively taking the appropriate preventative measures to address COVID-19 (coronavirus). We have expanded many of our standard sanitary procedures including, but not limited to:
Providing more hand sanitizer dispensers across our property
Increasing the frequency of all of our cleaning activities in our racing and casino areas, including, restrooms, restaurants, bars, entrance/exit doors, etc.
Ensuring our protocols for cleaning and sanitation meet or exceed the guidelines of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and that of local and state health authorities.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort currently intends to remain open during our regular operating hours and all scheduled events are continuing as planned at this time.
Our staff will continue to monitor the updates on the coronavirus as it applies to Arkansas. We will post applicable details on this evolving situation on our website Oaklawn.com.
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