The Kentucky Derby will not have fans in the stands this year, going back on its announcement in June saying it would allow people in the audience.
Derby operator Churchill Downs Incorporated initially planned to allow a limited capacity of fans attend the iconic race, but a recent surge in coronavirus cases in Louisville halted that idea.
Churchill Downs Incorporated, which runs the derby, said it had hoped to allow a limited number of fans to attend the race but that recent spikes in coronavirus cases in Louisville and the broader region had rendered that plan unsafe.
“We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans,” a statement read. “Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety, and security of our community in these challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that.”
Coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Kentucky in July to August, reporting about 1,000 new cases Thursday, according to the data.
Kentucky Democrat Governor Andy Beshear say it was the “right and responsible decision.”
“The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘Red Zone’ based on increases in cases,” Governor Beshear said.
“I am asking all Kentuckians to take action to stop the spread of the virus so we can get back to the many traditions we enjoy, like the Kentucky Derby.”
Nearly 2 months ago Churchill Downs said it would have the event at “reduced capacities.” Traditionally, the event has 60,000 reserved seats.
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