Churchill Downs has announced that fans will be in attendance for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby on Labor Day weekend.
In guidelines approved and agreed upon by both Churchill Downs and Governor Beshear, there will be limited fans in attendance. Go here is the full press release.
There will be limited fans in Churchill Downs, and that goes for general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining, and suites.
The general admission tickets will be a limited number and only grant infield access, and they will not be able to access the paddock area.
There will also be limited credentials for employees, media, and guests.
Fans will be encouraged to wear a mask while riding the shuttle, using the restroom, placing bets, or purchasing food and drink.
So what does this mean for Kentucky’s first football game of the season taking place the day before?
Well to be honest, no one knows.
Churchill Downs and the horse racing industry are extremely powerful in Kentucky and bring in tons of money due to the heavy amount of wealthy people partaking in the festivities of the Kentucky Derby every year.
There was no way they would not have fans.
But, on the other hand, UK Athletics could implement those same procedures, limited access and all, for their first game taking place one day before, and be a guinea pig to see how such regulations would work.
However, I personally would mandate masks, and simply not just encourage them, just to be safe.
If all goes according to plan, we could be looking at about 10-15,000 people at Kroger Field, spaced out, and following correct social distancing guidelines. The only major problem that I see is that the United States has seen a dramatic uptick in cases over the past month, and if continues to get worse, I personally don’t think it’s worth the risk to play with fans, or even play at all.
As far as we officially know of, the Kentucky Derby is the first major sporting event that has announced the return of fans, so you optimistic people have to be feeling good about fans in the stands for Kentucky’s first football game.
It will ultimately be up to the SEC Athletic Directors, school presidents, and Governors of the states, but it is a step toward having fans for the first game.