Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel in Altoona could remain closed for the rest of the year if Covid-19 persists.
US.- An Iowa racetrack is unlikely to reopen its gates this year if Covid-19 numbers ‘continue to go up’ according to the track’s CEO.
Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel in Altoona has been closed to the public since March 16.
No announcement has been made regarding plans for the remainder of the year for the property.
But CEO Gary Palmer hinted in an interview with the Des Moines Register that Prairie Meadows will not be opening its racetrack any time soon.
He said: “As long as these [positive Covid-19] numbers keep going up, it doesn’t make sense to me. My worst nightmare is reopening and then having to shut down all over again.”
Palmer added that horsemen come from across the country to race, which poses additional health risks to employees and the public.
This assertive stance has not been well-received by many with legal action suggested by horse trade members if they don’t receive purse money this year.
“We’ve been called every name there is, plus other things. But this pandemic is not up to me,” Palmer said.
On Sunday, Prairie Meadows furloughed more than a thousand members of staff to assist with the financial impact of the pandemic.