Owners will be unable to attend race meetings situated in Tier 4 from January 1 under new Covid-19 restrictions announced by the BHA on Tuesday.

Concern over the increased rates of transmission and the prevailing situation nationwide has prompted industry leaders to agree with government on an adjusted set of restrictions that will see only essential staff attend meetings in a Tier 4 area.

In addition, to further reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, it has also been agreed that no owners living in Tier 4 will be permitted to attend race-meetings in Tiers 1-3.

In Scotland, areas which are under Level 4 restrictions equate to Tier 4 and therefore these restrictions will also apply to any Scottish fixtures which fall in Level 4 regions.

Owners were initially barred from going racing when the sport returned following its shutdown in June but those restrictions were lifted in July.

The BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Jerry Hill, said on Tuesday: “Racing has worked hard to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus through the tough protocols people have followed when attending race meetings. With the NHS under pressure and a more virulent strain of COVID now circulating, we have agreed that these new restrictions are appropriate to the situation and will keep their use under review for Tiers 2 and 3. No one should attend at all if they feel unwell and any participant showing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and arrange a COVID-19 test.”

The BHA’s Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman added: “Our priority since June has been to keep racing going as this is vital to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who depend upon our industry.

“We have worked hard with government to secure permission for owners to keep attending, with numbers restricted during the national lockdown. Owners are the lifeblood of our sport and we understand the disappointment these additional restrictions will cause. However, the measures, which will be kept constantly under review, will help reduce risk on the racecourse and ensure that racing is able to continue safely through these most challenging times.”