SHAKOPEE, Minn. — It will be another step towards normal for horse racing fans Wednesday, as Canterbury Park opens its 2020 racing season.
Track officials say nine races will be held opening night, with the first at 4:40 p.m. Racing should wrap up about 8:40 p.m. Canterbury Park spokesman Jeff Maday says the recent Phase Three announcement by Gov. Tim Walz allows 250 spectators in the third level clubhouse, a fraction of the park's 6,500 average attendance but a step towards normal.
Maday says new safety protocols have been instituted for both guests and employees to guard against exposure and transmission of COVID-19, including mandatory masks and thermal checks for everyone. All employees returning to work are required to go through a 90-minute training session on best practices to keep everyone healthy and safe. Regular sanitizing will be done at self-service betting areas, on escalator hand rails and door handles, and all areas that are regularly touched by human hands.
" A lot of manpower, a lot of effort, a lot of training," Maday said.
This week there will be live racing Wednesday and Thursday. Canterbury Park will be creating more outdoor pods, or controllable spaces to increase attendance in a safe manner. The track hopes to restart weekend racing when that increased capacity gets a nod from both the racing commission and the state.
The racing season, shortened to 52 days, will run through September 16.