Woodbine Looks To Resume Live Races In June
Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson during an online question-and-answer session on Tuesday said that barring a caveat to be approved by government and local health authorities, there appears to at this stage be no reason why horseracing, albeit without spectators, won’t be able get underway on June 5 and 6. Lawson’s plan involves harness racing resuming at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 5 and a resumption of the current thoroughbred season at Woodbine Racetrack on June 6.
Even though Lawson did not indicate as such in as many words, there appears to have been guidance received from government/health authorities that more realistic dates for resumption are 12 and 13 June. These dates were mentioned by Lawson as alternative dates to 5 and 6 June. The CEO did not provide any more details regarding the reason(s) behind his mention of alternative “Plan B” dates.
No Spectators Through September
According to current trends and projections, spectators may be able to look forward to joining in the fun trackside from around October and onwards. Lawson said that whatever may come to pass over the course of the months to come, live racing must proceed at least in some shape or form in order for the many people working in various sectors of the live horseracing industry to make a living; a situation currently regarded as critical and even desperately necessary.
Lawson said that to his mind, everyone understands by now that the horseracing industry is one of those industries hardest hit by the ongoing down-times and furthermore that the sooner racing is permitted to return to a semblance of “normal”; subject of course to “proper” health guidelines; the better for everyone involved.
Lawson In Tune With Government
Tuesday also happened to see an extension of Ontario’s declaration of emergency announced by provincial government. The initial plan was to expire the declaration of emergency by at least May 12, but the ongoing nature of the crisis has now necessitated an extension until at least June 2nd. Lawson reminded the industry that the extension of restrictions was something it had to be “mindful” of, and said that provincial government had shown insight into the economic needs of people by having announced a gradual easing of restrictions so as to allow businesses to resume trade during the month of May.
Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Lisa MacLeod, has in the meantime confirmed having spoken with the Woodbine CEO at the beginning of the week (Monday). MacLeod tweeted that she had appreciated Lawson’s insights.