Some restrictions will remain in place on racecourses until at least July 19 after the Government announced a four-week delay to the planned relaxation of Covid-19 measures in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had intended to lift restrictions on June 21, but that date has been pushed back due to a rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of the virus.
He told a Downing Street press conference that the spread of the Delta variant meant “we have obviously faced a very difficult choice”.
“We can simply keep going with all of Step 4 on June 21, even though there is a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccines and that thousands more deaths would ensue which could otherwise have been avoided,” he said.
“Or else we can give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them.
“And since today I cannot say that that we have met all our four tests for proceeding with Step 4 on June 21, I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.”
Racecourses are currently permitted to have a crowd of 4,000 people, or 50 per cent capacity, whichever number is lower.
This week’s Royal Ascot meeting will have up to 12,000 spectators a day though, as it is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).
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