Sha Tin racecourse reopened to the public for the first time yesterday since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with a host of new measures implemented to guard against new coronavirus outbreak.
However, aside from trainers, jockeys, officials and stewards of Hong Kong Jockey Club, only Priority Card holders and punters who make advance bookings were admitted to the racecourse, with 3,514 people attending yesterday.
Bookings for yesterday and the remaining three race events in this season - on Wednesday, Sunday and next Wednesday on July 15 - are now full.
Punters seemed excited at the prospect of watching the races live once more, with the reopening turnover standing at HK$1,560 million, more than the HK$1,404 million recorded from the last weekend race on June 27.
Races were previously been held behind closed doors following the detection of first local Covid-19 cases in late January.
Visitors yesterday had to fill in an online health declaration form the day before, with those who had not completed the forms being asked to do so outside the venue.
The Jockey Club arranged for around 50 officers to provide assistance at the entrance and the admissions ran smoothly.
Attendees had to present staffers with a QR code of their restaurant reservation to confirm their identities, while also undergoing temperature checks and a requirement to keep masks on outside of restaurants.
A racing fan, Chan, said he was thrilled to be able to enter the racecourse again.
"It's much better than watching the live broadcast on television. I can see the horses and know their conditions," he said.
Reopened venues at the Sha Tin Racecourse included Champion Circle, Hay Market, Inner Circle, Jump, Pak Sing Restaurant, The Mastermind Shatin, The Monopoly and Wins Cafe Sha Tin.
At the Happy Valley Racecourse, Inner Circle, Leading Edge, Moon Koon Restaurant, Silver Lining, The Gallery, The Mastermind Happy Valley and Wins Cafe Happy Valley were also reopened.
The club's signature lottery Mark Six will resume on July 21, after its suspension since February.
Sales of tickets for the draw will begin at noon on July 16, when the club's off-course betting centers resume normal operating hours.