The organizers of the Cheltenham Festival defended their decision to move forward with last month’s meeting, after fears were raised, the mass rally helped spread the coronavirus more widely in the country.
The four-day event saw more than 250,000 race participants, despite the pandemic that saw the cancellation of other major sporting events the following days.
A number of people have reported on social media that they attended the festival to continue developing symptoms of COVID-19.
However, festival organizers defended the decision to go ahead and said it followed government guidelines at the time.
During the festival, which ran from March 10 to 13, the government had not implemented any social distancing measures.
The day before the festival started, the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports said there was “no reason” to postpone the events.
A government spokesperson said Friday, “It is our top priority to protect the health of people and our advice on coronavirus is the result of direct and continuous consultation with medical experts.
“The Cheltenham Festival was operating at the time under the clear leadership of Public Health England. “
However, at this point, six people in the UK had died of the virus, while 373 had tested positive.
The following Monday, the Prime Minister urged everyone in the UK to avoid pubs, clubs and theaters and to stop all non-essential travel and home work.
On March 13, the Football Association, the Premier League, the EFL and the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship jointly agreed to postpone the professional match in England until April 3 at the earliest, while the Formula 1 suspended the start of the season.
A spokesman for Cheltenham Racecourse said, “The festival ended three weeks ago and continued under the continued leadership of the government, like other popular sporting events in Twickenham, Murrayfield, 10 Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches at Anfield the same week.
“We promoted the latest public health advice and introduced a range of additional hygiene measures at the event, including hundreds of hand sanitizers and additional sinks. “
Reflecting on the festival in the days after it ended, Cheltenham chief Ian Renton admitted his relief and said the event was “interesting”.
He said at the time: “I am relieved because it has been an interesting week with all that is going on around the race, but it is fantastic the race day we had today – to see probably the ‘one of the best Magners Gold Cup I can recall. “