Great Canadian Gaming announced the temporary closure of its three horse racetracks sprinkled across two provinces. Flamboro Downs in Hamilton, Ontario; Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, B.C.; as well as Fraser Downs in Surrey, B.C. are going to shut down operation in relation to the growing COVID-19 concerns across the country. Limiting larger congregations is crucial for outbreak mitigation.
Both racing and horse training would no longer take place on the three racetracks overseen by the leading casino operator. Great Canadian Gaming specified that horse people are also prohibited from congregating for the training of their racehorses, as this would enable the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus. Both Ontario and British Columbia have already implemented measures regarding their local gaming industry.
Racetracks Temporarily Closed
This includes the complete shutdown of all casino venues and bingo halls sprinkled across the two provinces. Such a measure eyes the social distancing recommendation that would aim to flatten the curve and make it easier for the Canadian health system to take care of all the people to contract the novel coronavirus down the road. Residents of the provinces would no longer have exciting racing events to attend.
The temporary measure does not specify the time frame of this shutdown, as the situation is a rather dynamic one and the authorities would act accordingly once they reevaluate it. Most casino operators implement an initial two-week shutdown with a subsequent reevaluation of the situation and possible extension of the deadline. Racehorses training would also cease at the backstretches of the three racetracks, as to prevent the congregation of people.
It could be recalled that Woodbine Entertainment was criticized for the decision to close its two racetracks for spectators but to continue horse training. This activity attracts upwards of 1,500 individuals on a daily basis, as the horses residing there are in need of caregiving, grooming, feeding, and regular training. The latter is especially true in regards to the upcoming live racing season.
Horse Training Comes to a Halt
Great Canadian Gaming has decided to put a halt to both the live racing and training in Hamilton, Vancouver, and Surrey. The latter location would be able to witness live horse racing events in the fall of 2020, as the casino operator confirmed. Both provinces have issued recommendations for the limiting of public gatherings, social events that could eventually lead to an even larger outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
On March 18, Ontario confirmed 25 new cases of the novel coronavirus, swelling their overall number to 214. This one of the provinces that has witnessed a high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across whole Canada. About 3,378 individuals still wait to hear their test results, as the medical workers do their job at full speed.
In the meantime, British Columbia confirmed 45 new cases of the novel coronavirus, eventually bringing their number to 231. This is the province reporting the highest number of people that have contracted the virus. The upcoming week is considered a critical point of the development of events, as new cases are projected to be confirmed. It is also a time when the provinces could further tighten the measures promoting social distancing.