The Leopardstown Racecourse Christmas festival will be behind closed doors this year as a result of the rising incidence of Covid-19 nationally, organisers have said.
The sold-out festival, which is due to run from December 26th until December 29th, includes four days of National Hunt racing and entertainment.
In an update, the organisers said there would be no general public at this year’s festival, with only industry, owners and members permitted to attend.
Full refunds will be processed as soon as possible, they added. Up to 5,000 people had been expected to attend.
Tim Husbands, chief executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said the decision was due to the rising case numbers of the Covid-19 virus over the past couple of days.
“We have seen the rising case numbers nationally and locally reflected in our staff over the past few days, a situation that has become increasingly concentrated over the past 24 hours and has forced us to make this late decision,” he said.
“It makes it impossible for Leopardstown to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for the general public and has led us to make the difficult call to close the festival to the general public.”
Mr Husbands acknowledged it would be “hugely disappointing news” to those who had purchased tickets, adding it was also “deeply disappointing to the team here who have worked so hard in putting a fantastic festival together”.
“Our team will process refunds as soon as possible so please do not call or visit the racecourse we will issue your refund in due course and no later than 28 days after the event. We appreciate your patience in this matter.”
However, Mr Husbands said they still had the necessary staff and expertise to put on "four brilliant days of racing" from Sunday, which can be viewed on RacingTV and RTÉ.