The Gemini Boat Race 2021 is taking place behind closed doors, with no access to spectators, to enable one of the world’s oldest and most famous amateur competitions to return to the British sporting calendar in a COVID-secure way.
The races will be live on BBC One from 15:00 on Sunday 4th April, and this is the best way for everyone to enjoy the event, broadcast live from Ely in Cambridgeshire.
Safety is of paramount importance to enable the race to go ahead in this unique format, and with no spectators currently allowed at sporting events under the Government roadmap for lockdown restrictions easing, The Boat Race Company have put a number of measures in place to ensure the safety of the local community, athletes and staff working on the event, and to stop spectators from gathering, running the risk of COVID restrictions being breached.
Therefore under the Government’s Contain framework, Gillian Beasley – the Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council - signed an order to close a number of roads, footpaths and all publicly accessible riverbanks along the river Ouse in the area subject to the direction notice. This will be for a temporary period on Sunday afternoon, 4th April, on the advice of Dr Liz Robin, the Director of Public Health.
All residents in the affected areas have been sent letters by The Boat Race Company, giving details of the closure and information about registering to get in and out of the closures in an emergency.
Information has also been sent out widely in the local area, and the closed roads and footpaths will be clearly marked and monitored by stewards, who will be able to give pedestrians details about alternative routes during the affected times of closure 12:00 noon -18:30
If members of the public attempt to breach the closures they will be kindly asked to leave, however non-compliance may be subject to fines.
There will be no access to the closed event this includes in Ely or Littleport.
The Environment Agency has also implemented river restrictions and closures over the bank holiday weekend.
More information about the event can be found on the Boat Races’ FAQs webpage.
What we are doing as a district
The Boat Race has been working closely with the Safety Advisory Group, which is co-ordinated by the district council and made up of representatives from the council, emergency services and other relevant bodies including the county council. Their focus throughout this is to make certain the Boat Race ensures the races are as safe as possible and do all they can to publicise the event as closed to the public.
This will be the first weekend where restrictions allow people to meet outside using the ‘rule of six’ or two households.
With this in mind, we will be emptying litter bins and checking public toilets throughout during the Easter weekend.
There will also be two COVID marshals in Ely for Sunday 4th April. The role of the COVID marshals will to be to engage with and support residents safely.