Arlington Racecourse welcomed back spectators just in time for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby horse race Saturday.
Live racing begins at Arlington at 2 p.m. with limited spectators of 300 people or less all of whom must be over the age of 18, according to their website.
Tickets are sold online for the entire season, but on Derby Day they cost up to $300 for a table, the website read. Each table is allowed up to four guests and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance.
Since July 23, races have been happening on Arlington's oval, but with nobody in the grandstand. Finally on Thursday, that changed.
After getting approval from the Arlington Heights Department of Health and Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Cook County Department of Public Health, Arlington ran nine races in front of about 200 spectators (the maximum number allowed is 300). For the fans who watched live racing for the first time this season, it felt incredible.
"The void has been big," racing fan Michael Howatt said. "I would come here, probably, at least three or four times a month ... now being here today, I’m all kinds of excited."
To keep spectators safe, Arlington is requiring masks to be worn unless people are eating.
Additionally, all food and drinks are pre-packaged, and social distancing is being encouraged. Eleven racing dates remain on the schedule, including Friday and Saturday, both of which are sold out. Saturday features the rescheduled running of the 2020 Kentucky Derby, which can be seen on NBC 5.