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What is different about this year's Kentucky Derby? Churchill Downs' health and safety guidelines

The track requires face masks unless attendees are seated or eating and drinking.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While fans will be in the stands during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack is still following health and safety protocols put in place by the state of Kentucky and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reserved seating for Oaks and Derby is limited to 40-50% capacity, while private premium areas have up to 60% capacity. General admission tickets for the infield allow for only 25-30% capacity.

"We’ve received an exceptional level of guidance from medical experts and public health authorities, and this plan will allow the reduced number of spectators in attendance to celebrate Kentucky Derby 147 in a safe and responsible way," Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson said.

Everyone entering the venue must undergo a temperature check and fill out a medical questionnaire. Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees or experiencing symptoms will not be allowed inside the track.

Like in previous years, guests will undergo a security screening that includes bag checks and a walkthrough magnetometer. Golf cart shuttles and wheelchair assistance have been eliminated to allow for social distancing.

While Gov. Andy Beshear has lifted Kentucky's mask mandate for outdoor events with less than 1,000 people, masks will still be required due to high attendance. Guests are only allowed to unmask when seated or actively drinking and eating. Children under five are not required to wear masks.

Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the venue, and frequently touched places will be disinfected regularly. All concessions will be presented wrapped and covered. 

Signs will be placed throughout the track reminding people to wear mask and practice social distancing, and Churchill has implemented a Compliance Ambassador program to ensure attendees are following safety measures.

Those not following the track's guidelines will first receive a warning before being escorted off the property without a refund.

Churchill still enforces a restricted bag policy. Guests are permitted to one bag no larger than 12" X 6" X 12". Alcohol beverages, backpacks, canopies, drones, projectile items and umbrellas are prohibited. For a full list of items prohibited at the track during Derby week, click here.

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