Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announced Nov. 17 that it will begin its 2020-21 race season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, without the general public. The track anticipates making a subsequent announcement in December as to when fans will be allowed to attend.

“We are happy to be able to present the Fair Grounds’ 149th racing season, featuring over $7 million in stakes, and continue this longstanding New Orleans tradition despite these unprecedented times,” said Fair Grounds president Doug Shipley. “Out of an abundance of caution given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and working with state and local authorities, we will not be opening the season to the general public at this time, with only licensed horsemen and essential personnel allowed to attend. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and hope to make an announcement soon as to when we will be able to share our racing experience with the general public.”

The move by Fair Grounds comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising across much of the country. Louisiana health officials announced approximately 2,600 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with an increase in hospitalizations in recent weeks. More than 200,000 cases have been reported in the state since the pandemic began.

Despite the changes for live racing patrons, Fair Grounds’ slots and 12 off-track betting facilities will maintain their normal hours of operations and safety protocols, the track said.

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