Fans bring excitement on opening day at Churchill Downs amid new COVID-19 safety measures

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Weeks after Kentucky Derby 146 ran without spectators, fans were counting down the days they could once again visit Churchill Downs.

While many who attended opening day of the fall meet said it couldn’t have felt better to be back, they acknowledged how different things are considering the pandemic.

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The home of the Twin Spires is following guidance mandated by the state for venues and events.

Mandatory mask use when spectators are not drinking or eating, temperature checks, medical screenings, social distancing markers and spaced out seats are among the changes – everything fans were happy to comply with.

Churchill Downs has also decided not to do general admission tickets but are selling floor box seats so they can assign seating.

“We’ve been waiting for this. Everybody that is here is acting responsibly they’re happy to be here. I know I can speak for the track officials, but I also think I can speak for the jockeys the trainers, the owners, it’s really gratifying to hear people cheering down the stretch as horses come down the lane,” Darren Rogers, senior vice president of communications, said.

Rogers said it’s a great step as they continue to plan for 2021.