The iconic seven-day Galway Festival is likely to be held without spectators if it is given the green light to proceed, it would be a cruel blow to Irish horseracing,
The Festival is due to begin on July 27 however with the government of Ireland announcing on Tuesday in a public release that gatherings of more than 5,000 people will not be permitted until the end of August, it’s unlikely turnstiles will be busy as the Festival organises adhere to strict coronavirus protocols.
It’s a blow for the festival that employs more than 1,500 staff and injects STG 54 million to the local economy over the week-long carnival.
“In light of the evolving situation regarding Covid-19, for public health and safety reasons Galway Race Committee has reached the difficult but unavoidable decision that the 2020 Galway Races Summer Festival will not be able to take place as an event open to the general public this year,” Galway general manager Michael Moloney said.
“It may prove possible to run the Galway Races behind closed doors, dependent on government policy and the approval of Horse Racing Ireland and Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board.
“This would be for the benefit of the racing industry, our valued partners, and our television audiences at home and internationally.”
While the loss of crowds is a hit, across the border in Britain, all racing has been suspended since March 17 and will only recommence behind closed doors once authorities advise it is safe to resume.