The 2020 Galway Races will not be open to the general public if they are able to go ahead at all this year due to restrictions on mass gatherings that will last through the summer.
The Race Committee issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying that the 2020 Galway Races Summer Festival would not be able to go ahead as a public event this year.
This came just a few hours after the government announced that no events requiring a licence for a gathering of more than 5,000 people would be permitted before the end of August this year.
As one of the biggest annual events in Galway, the summer races which were due to take place from Monday, July 27 until Sunday, August 2 see numbers well in excess of that at Ballybrit Racecourse each day.
The summer festival is also invaluable to the local economy, with huge number of people travelling to Galway from around Ireland and abroad each year.
The Race Committee said that it knows this decision will come as a disappointment to racegoers that attend yearly, but that they will try to hold the races in some format.
“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.”
“We are currently planning for this scenario and we will update you on progress as and when we can.”
For people who have already paid for admission tickets and corporate hospitality, the Race Committee has given assurances that there will be a full refund policy in place.
“While the teams at Galway Racecourse and Lydon House Catering will commence this process immediately please bear with us as our teams are operating remotely due to the current Government restrictions in place.”
“We would like to sincerely thank you for your support and understanding during this unprecedented time. Our thoughts are with all those affected as a result of Covid-19.
“We offer our deepest gratitude to staff at the HSE, front line workers and members of our community nationwide for their dedication and perseverance.”
“We look forward to being able to welcome you all back to Ballybrit when it is safe to do so. For now, please look after yourselves. Stay safe and healthy.”