Covid forces Christmas Festival at Leopardstown behind closed doors

No members of the general public will be permitted at this year’s festival, which will be limited to industry, owners and members
Covid forces Christmas Festival at Leopardstown behind closed doors

Leopardstown Racecourse has announced its Christmas Festival will take place behind closed doors this year due to staff shortages linked to rising Covid-19 cases.

No members of the general public will be permitted at the festival, which will be limited to industry, owners and members.

Full refunds will be processed as soon as possible, a statement from the racecourse said.

Tim Husbands, chief executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “We have seen the rising case numbers nationally and locally reflected in our staff over the past few days, a situation that has become increasingly concentrated over the past 24 hours and has forced us to make this late decision.

“It makes it impossible for Leopardstown to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for the general public and has led us to make the difficult call to close the festival to the general public.

“I know this will be hugely disappointing news to all of those who had purchased tickets in advance, as it is deeply disappointing to the team here who have worked so hard in putting a fantastic festival together.

“Our team will process refunds as soon as possible and will be in touch with all customers, please refer to www.leopardstown.com for more details on this process."

Redeployed staff

Mr Husbands said redeployed staff from other racecourses and volunteers from Horse Racing Ireland "have not been able to keep pace with the volume of staff who, in particular, have been identified as close contacts."

"In addition, we know that our experience with cases and close contacts has been replicated in our third-party suppliers which by itself would have had implications next week," he added.

"Thankfully we still have the staff necessary and expertise to put on four brilliant days of racing from Sunday, and can [assure] industry professionals, owners, our members and our sponsors representatives that they will be safe at Leopardstown for what unfortunately will be a pared-back festival.”

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