Racing will continue operating behind closed doors in England and Scotland despite the announcement of strict national lockdowns for the two nations on Monday due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson’s address to the public came on Monday evening and announced a stringent set of new measures including the closure of all non-essential shops, which had previously been open in Tier 3 areas, the closure of schools and restrictions on exercise.

The Prime Minister said: “We now have a new variant of the virus and it has been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed with which it is spreading.

“Our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic. I know how tough this is, and I know how frustrated you are and I know you have had more than enough of government guidance about defeating this virus, but now, more than ever, we must pull together.”

In a tweet, the British Horseracing Authority added: “We can confirm racing will continue behind closed doors during the upcoming national lockdown. Attendance will be limited to those essential to the staging of fixtures and strict adherence to British racing’s Covid-19 protocols will continue to be required for all who attend.”

The BHA’s statement followed a similar message to the one relayed by Scottish Racing after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had announced a national lockdown for Scotland earlier on Monday.

Scottish Racing said: “The Scottish government has confirmed that racing can continue behind closed doors. Only those essential to staging fixtures may attend and must continue to follow the protocols already in place. No owners will be permitted to attend a fixture until further notice.”