The Raceway COVID-19 Protocols

The Raceway at Western Fair District

COVID-19 Protocols

Updated December 22nd, 2020

Following the recent lockdown announcement from the province of Ontario, The Raceway, and entire grandstand facility, will be closed for live racing and training effective December 26 at 12:01 a.m. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and will continue to update you on the status of re-opening in the new year.


Updated December 11, 2020

Effective this Monday, December 14 at 12:01 a.m., as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, Middlesex-London will be moving into the Red-Control zone. As a result, the Grandstand facility will be temporarily closed to the public until restrictions are lifted.

Racing will continue but only essential workers will be permitted at the facility on designated race days.

Please note the Top Of The Fair dining room will be open tonight as scheduled. We thank you for your understanding and will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.


Updated October 7, 2020

Purpose: To outline protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the Racing Facilities and ensure the health and safety of our employees, horsepersons and stakeholders to allow for a safe return of Standardbred Racing at Western Fair District.

Affected Parties: WFR Management, Supervisors, Workers, Horse Owners, Trainers, Caretakers, Grooms, Drivers, and other Key Stakeholders (AGCO, Standardbred Canada, COSA).

Key Contact: Rob Lumsden, WFR Director of Racing and Grandstand Operations.

Backstretch and Paddock Access Restrictions: The following access restrictions shall be implemented for the Backstretch and Paddock areas:

  • Access gate behind Gateway Facility (Turn 1) shall be locked until first post time.
  • Only one Paddock entry gate shall be open, ensuring one point of access to the Paddock area
  • Only trucks/trailers, AGCO judges and staff are permitted to park in the backstretch area. All other personal vehicles will park outside of the gated area, and occupants will be subject to screening prior to being granted access to the Paddock area.
  • No Owners or Guests shall be allowed access to the Paddock area.
  • No person shall be granted access without presenting a valid AGCO license.
  • No one under 16 years of age shall be allowed in the Paddock or Backstretch areas.
  • Access to the driver’s room shall be limited to ensure social distancing. Masks are mandatory in this area. No access to the shower facilities at this time.
  • All persons requesting access to the Paddock and Backstretch areas will be subject to the two-step Security and Medical screening protocols outlined below. No person shall be admitted into the area without passing both portions of the screening protocols.

Security and Medical Screening Procedure: The following procedure shall be used to ensure the proper screening of all persons that wish to access the Paddock and Backstretch areas:

  • WFR Management, Security and Medical service provider shall perform the screening process.
  • Security team will ask screening questions, including but not limited to the following:

1. Have you or someone you have come in contact with travelled or returned from any country outside of Canada in the past 14 days?

2. Are you experiencing, or have you experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days:

a. Fever

b. Cough

c. Muscle Aches and Tiredness

d. Difficulty Breathing

e. Vomiting

f. Diarrhea

3. Have you been in contact with anyone who is or has experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days:

a. Fever

b. Cough

c. Muscle Aches and Tiredness

d. Difficulty Breathing

e. Vomiting

f. Diarrhea

4. Have you or anyone you have been in contact with tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 14 days?

5. Have you or someone you have come in contact with travelled or returned from any United States Racetrack or Racing Association in the past 14 days?

Any visitor who answers “No” to each of the screening questions will be asked to present their AGCO licence, and subject to presenting a valid licence, will move to the medical screening.

Visitors passing the security screening will have their temperature checked by our Medical service providers utilizing a no-touch thermometer. If the result is a temperature of less than 38 degrees C (110.5F) they will be cleared for access to the Paddock and Backstretch areas. They shall be asked to show their AGCO license. This screening shall occur on a daily basis.

Internal Paddock Protocols: The following measures will be in place inside the Paddock Facility:

  • The seating in the Backstretch Concession area shall be limited. The concession will be open with physical distancing of 2m/6 feet in place.
  • Access to the Race Office shall remain open.
  • Access to the testing barn will follow the CPMA protocols, including Security at entrance, maximum of 2 people per horse, no horses will be left unattended. Handwashing sink and hand sanitizer is immediately accessible in this area.
  • Race stalls shall be spread out in a manner that alleviates congestion in any particular area and enhances physical distancing. Urine stalls shall be moved to several areas of the Paddock to alleviate congestion.
  • Security and raceway staff will patrol the paddock, ensuring masks are worn properly at all times and physical distancing is practiced.
  • Physical distancing protocols shall be in place according to current Municipal, Provincial and Federal Guidelines, and masks must be worn at all times within the Paddock.
  • It is recommended that persons use cell phones to communicate when feasible to respect Physical Distancing Guidelines.
  • All internal AGCO and race office areas will be sanitized between race cards, and high touch areas will be sanitized throughout the evening.
  • Horsepersons shall vacate the Paddock area immediately following their race.
  • All high touch areas shall be sanitized on a frequent basis through the race night. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the Paddock.
  • Race stalls shall be fully cleaned and sanitized nightly after each race night.

Simulcast, Grandstand, Top of the Fair and Judge’s areas

  • Simulcast lounge will remain closed until safe to re-open. Seating and individual carols will be adjusted to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet when permissible to open.
  • The main outdoor grandstand seating will remain closed until deemed safe to open under Federal, Provincial and Municipal guidelines.
  • Top of the Fair restaurant may open with seating arranged to ensure physical distancing at all times. Number of patrons will follow Federal, Provincial and Municipal guidelines. Patrons will be subject to screening upon entry, and masks will be mandatory when not consuming food or beverage.
  • AGCO judge’s area will be adjusted to ensure physical distancing, with appropriate shields in place in between the judges. Masks will be mandatory in this area. No tours of the Judges’ area will be permitted this season.
  • Standardbred Canada Data entry personnel shall be moved to the race offices to alleviate further congestion in the Judge’s stand.

Authored by: Rob Lumsden, WFR Director of Racing and Grandstand Operations

Effective date: October 7, 2020.

Review date: When there are changes to the Municipal, Provincial or Federal guidelines on COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols.