Janet Millls, Governor of the State of Maine, released her administration’s plan to reopen businesses in the state during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. For entertainment venues, including short track racing facilities in the state, her proposed plan is not encouraging.
The four-stage reopening plan will see the stay-at-home-order extended to May 31, with limited expansion of some businesses that were closed under the previous stay-at-home order that ends Thursday, April 30.
Stage 1 of the reopening process, which begins May 1, will continue with gatherings limited to less than 10 people.
Tentatively scheduled to begin on June 1, Stage 2 will contemplate increasing gathering to less than 50 people. While this may open the door for testing and limited practice sessions at race tracks throughout the state, it will likely rule out any spectator events during this time.
Stage 3, which is scheduled to tentatively begin July 1 and run through the month of August, will also continue with gatherings being limited to less than 50 people.
That leads into Stage 4 of Mills’ reopening plan, which would contemplate lifting restrictions and allowing all businesses to resume with appropriate safety precautions. The problem: the timeline for that stage is undetermined at this time.
That is not encouraging news for short track racing facilities in the state that rely on the summer months to bring in revenue. Normally operating between the months of April and October, short track racing facilities in the state typically enjoy seven good months of racing each year before the winter season begins.
Currently, there are four asphalt race tracks in the state that operate on a regular basis: Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Speedway 95 in Hermon and Wiscasset Raceway in Wiscasset. Spud Speedway in Caribou was also scheduled to host an event in August.
Smaller venues such as Richmond Karting Speedway in Richmond and Bartlett Bridge Raceway in Lyman also host events throughout the season.
(Update: Wiscasset Speedway announced Tuesday evening that they have suspended the 2020 season until further notice. “Due to the extension of the Governor’s stay at home orders and subsequent plans for slowly opening businesses and group activities, we will be suspending our 2020 racing schedule until further notice,” the statement read. “However long – or short – this suspension will be is unknown at this moment.”)
While Mills indicated that her reopening plan could change based on the success of the state’s fight against the coronavirus, the plan she released Tuesday did not provide a lot of hope for those in the short track racing industry.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51