Horse racing can resume at Batavia Downs this summer – without fans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2020 at 2:03 pm

Beaches at state parks also given OK to open on May 22

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hamlin Beach State Park is shown in this photo last summer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the beaches at state parks will reopen on May 22.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that horse racing resume can resume in the state on June 1, but not with fans in the stands.

The governor also said Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open on June 1, but without spectators.

Locally, Batavia Downs season starts in late July. The governor said many of the horsemen and trainers that work with the horses are already at the racetracks each day. Not allowing fans shouldn’t have much of an impact on increasing the spread of Covid-19, Cuomo said.

The state will issue guidance on how they can open safely reopen in the coming week, the governor said about the racetracks.

“The numbers have been steadily decreasing and we’re now right about where we were when we started, but we want to make sure we don’t go back to the hell that we’ve gone through,” Cuomo said. “We have a smart phased reopening plan that has been reviewed by experts, and half of the state is in the process of reopening. Now we’re getting a little more nuanced in our analysis and starting to look for economic activities that we can start without crowds and gatherings – in this state we can do that with horse racing tracks and car racing at Watkins Glen and we’re going to do that starting June 1st.”

The governor also announced on Friday that beaches at state parks will allowed by reopen on May 22. Concessions at the state parks, however, won’t be allowed to reopen yet because Cuomo said the state doesn’t want long lines of people waiting for food.

“State beaches, that includes local beaches, lake shores,” Cuomo said. “It does not include pools, pools are closed. No more than 50 percent capacity and that will be done at parking areas, entrance areas, exit areas, et cetera. No group contact activities. No volleyball, no football, nothing like that. Areas of social gathering will be closed, picnic areas, et cetera. Playgrounds, pavilions, arcades.”

The governor today confirmed 2,419 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 348,232 confirmed cases.

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