Hospitality needs lockdown lifeline to help venues like York Racecourse – The Yorkshire Post says

THERE’s EVERY likelihood that Freedom Day – originally set for June 21 – will be delayed by at least four weeks when Boris Johnson addresses the nation tonight.

This was the scene at York where attendance is restricted to just 4,000 racegoers at present.
This was the scene at York where attendance is restricted to just 4,000 racegoers at present.

The Prime Minister has indicated that the spread of the Delta variant of Covid is a matter of “serious, serious concern” and will use the intervening period to intensify the vaccine rollout.

Understandably, the delay is being viewed grimly by the country’s hospitality industry – and those businesses who were counting on the lifting of restrictions from June 21 in order to simply survive.

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And it is a point that the Government will have to address after Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May said travel was harder now, with vaccines in place, than last summer when they were not and that this is also harming tourism here.

This was the socially distanced scene at York on Saturday for its annual Macmillan charity raceday.

After all, there does appear to be scope, following the successful staging of various trials, for a more nuanced response that enables rules to be relaxed for those outdoor events where the protocols have proven the risks to health to be negligible.

One such example is York Racecourse. As its capacity is restricted to 4,000 racegoers against a capacity of 45,000 on summer Saturdays, it is not in a position to open all of its facilities, like the spectator areas on the centre of the iconic track, which are perfect for social distancing.

It is also not alone in the wider hospitality and sports industry in expressing some frustration at how such a key sector is being neglected by Ministers, and a hope for some common sense to be applied if a better balance between public health and the economy is to be struck as Britain adapts to Covid’s ever changing challenges.

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Blackrod in the parade ring before the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap at York Racecourse. Picture date: Saturday June 12, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story RACING York. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Roberto Escobarr and Tom Marquand coming home to win the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at York Racecourse.