The MHHA continues to have communication with both the MGCB and Northville Downs regarding the COVID-19 executive orders and stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Whitmer impacting our 2020 race meet. Unfortunately due to the extension of the stay home order to June 12th – we do not have a definite date for our re-opening
The Governor signed EO 2020-100 last Friday (May 22nd) which extended the deadline for several executive orders prior to their expiration. It includes extending EO 2020-96 (stay home/stay safe) will remain in effect until 11:59 pm on June 12, 2020. The order was set to expire on May 28th, but will now expire on June 12th. Despite the extension of the order we do expect the easing of restrictions to continue, by region, as the cases continue downward. The Governor also extended the state of emergency to June 19th.
Northville Downs and the MHHA submitted plans to Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Governor’s office on May 11th and May 22nd outlining protocols and updates to address safely reopening and the impact this closure is having on our horsemen. Northville Down’s Preparedness and Response Plan as required by EO 2020-91 addresses items such as social distancing by removing seating capacity in the clubhouse, installation of plexiglass between the teller and public, installation of touchless faucets and hand dryers throughout the facility. The MHHA back to race plan includes requirements for PPE in the paddock and backstretch, reduction racing personnel and moving to a 2-race paddock. Many of the protocols outlined in the MHHA’s plans are consistent with what we have seen implemented at Northfield Park and Scioto Downs.
The first half of the Northville Downs meet was scheduled to end on June 20th, we have had positive conversations with Northville Downs and the MGCB that when the Governor allows Northville Downs to re-open for live and simulcast racing we will continue to race as long as possible based on the available revenue.
We have also been in communication with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions and Michigan Department of Agriculture regarding our summer fair programs held at various county fair tracks across the State and have sent letters to each fair board that hosts Colt Stakes and overnights requesting they continue to host racing in the event that their overall fair has canceled while maintaining social distancing guidelines. As of today, Barry County (Hastings) has canceled their 2020 fair. We have not heard any communications from our county fairs that indicate the cancellation of the summer racing dates. The MHHA, MAFE and MDARD are working together to ensuring our summer programs remain as uninterrupted as possible during this unprecedented time. If there are any changes to the summer program schedule, we will communicate them. We will be posting a summer schedule based on the latest COVID-19 information to our website by June 15th. This is subject to change as new information continues to come forward.
Advance-deposit wagering contracts are currently in process between Northville Downs and various ADW providers and are expected to be finalized by the end of June if not sooner. There were regulatory discussions and questions that resulted in the delay of contracts and implementation.
Please understand that we know how much anxiety, uncertainly, and stress this has caused our horsemen and industry. As other state’s around us re-open for racing, we realize that frustrating levels continue to grow. We are working very hard to get everyone back to racing in a safe environment possible. We ask that you please be patient and if you have any questions to contact our office by phone or email.