HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Horse racing fans are back at Oaklawn for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Friday was opening day for the live meet and things look a little different this season.
“We are super excited to have everyone back,” said Oaklawn’s General Manager, Wayne Smith.
In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to allow a limited number of spectators at the races during the 2021 live race meet highlighted by the following:
- General admission into the Grandstand will not be allowed initially in 2021.
- Entrance into the Grandstand will strictly be for guests with a racing credential and/or reservation for that day’s races. Doors will open at 11 am.
- Current seasonal box seat holders and current Oaklawn Jockey Club members may enter the Grandstand with weekly reservations required. Detailed correspondence to be sent separately to these individuals.
- Restaurants inside the Grandstand, following Arkansas Department of Health directives, will be open to the public with weekly reservations required.
- Simulcast will be open Wednesday–Sunday, 11am–8pm to limited capacity with weekly reservations required.
- Social distancing will be enforced.
- All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.
- All guests and team members will be required to wear masks at all times.
- Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.
Wayne says he hopes once the weather gets warmer and more Arkansans are vaccinated, they can allow general admission into the infield.
“We hope that maybe by April we can open up with one big party in the infield and just call it a day,” said Wayne. “Hopefully sometime soon before racing ends in 2021 we can get folks back to normal.”
A spokespersons says if you would like to watch the races from your home, you can download the free Oaklawn Anywhere App and stream directly from your phone.