Doncaster health boss explains why he ordered St Leger behind closed doors

Doncaster’s health boss has explained why he has ordered this year’s St Leger Festival to take place behind closed doors.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 5:42 pm

Spectators were allowed into Doncaster Racecourse for the opening day of the meeting today, but a decision was made at the eleventh hour for the remainder of the festival – including Saturday's showpiece St Leger – to take place behind closed doors.

Now Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health in Doncaster, has said the plug was pulled because he feared the event didn’t meet ten tests he had set out for it to go ahead safely.

He said: “I continually assess the situation against the 10 tests I set out to hold the event.

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Dr Rupert Suckling has ordered the rest of the St Leger meeting to take place behind closed doors.

“I am concerned that the 10th and final test covering 'critical incident risks addressed throughout the event such as managing gatherings of people and public disorder risks across the borough' will be jeopardised by potentially more people meeting up ahead of any further Government changes to the Coronavirus advice this weekend.

“The rate of infection for the borough currently stands at 10.6 infections per 100,000 people which I have been updated on today. This is an increase due to a range of factors including an increase in testing and a lag in the test results coming in.

“Therefore on the grounds of public health and public safety I have instructed the racecourse to hold the St Leger Festival behind closed doors from tomorrow.

“The day’s racing went ahead today as it was safer to manage racegoers on site and with enhanced test and trace. It will be easier to identify where they are from rather than if we'd closed the event and left people to their own devices in Doncaster and the borough generally.

“I appreciate this decision may not be met with universal agreement but it is the safest and most appropriate way to move forward for everyone’s best interests in the borough and beyond.”

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: "I believe holding the St Leger Festival behind closed doors is the right thing to do for the safety of the borough.”