Columbus, OH — On Tuesday (May 12), in a letter of response to Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission Chairman Russell Redding, Governor Tom Wolf indicated that the reopening of horse racing could occur when the counties that they are located in enter the “green” phase of his three-phase matrix plan.
The “green” phase is the third and final phase of his plan.
“As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc.),” wrote Wolf in his response to Redding. “I commend the Commission’s efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening.”
Following is the complete letter:
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
May 12, 2020
Russell C. Redding, Chairman
Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission
2301 North Cameron Street, Room 304
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Dear Chairman Redding:
Thank you for your letter regarding the horse racing industry’s efforts to mitigate coronavirus (COVID-19). I appreciate the support for the commonwealth’s efforts, as keeping Pennsylvanians safe takes collaboration and partnership across Pennsylvania.
With new case counts showing that our aggressive mitigation efforts have flattened the curve in Pennsylvania, my administration has begun to plan a reopening process that protects Pennsylvanians and helps to stabilize the economy. Pennsylvania will utilize a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing some restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions. This plan will begin to take effect on May 8, 2020, with 24 counties moving to a “yellow” phase of reopening.
Pennsylvania must proceed with returning to work cautiously. Broad reopenings or reopenings that are not structured around ongoing social distancing, universal masking, or other public health guidance would likely result in a spike of cases and new stay-at-home and closure orders. Throughout this process, we will have guidance in place to support best public health practices. This guidance will reinforce and build on existing worker and building safety orders. It will also be able to adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned from communities that return to work strategically. The administration is working with economic and public health experts to determine the metrics used for safe reopening by taking a regional, sector-based approach. More information on this plan can be found at govemor.pa.gov.
As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc). I commend the Commission’s efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening.
Thank you again for your efforts and sacrifices during this unprecedented time. We all have work we need to do to build a new commonwealth, and this plan for relief, reopening, and recovery will keep more Pennsylvanians alive and repair the damage this virus has caused across Pennsylvania.
For all of the latest news on the resumption of racing, visit the USTA COVID-19 Resource Center.