Spring racing carnivals have a new atmosphere thanks to strictly-enforced coronavirus rules that force patrons to sit in their chairs unless placing a bet.
The Everest, an annual 1,200m invitational horse race, was held at Randwick Racecourse, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, on Saturday with a $15million prize in what is the richest race in Australia.
But the 2020 version of the carnival, held on Saturday, looks extremely different compared to previous years.
The top prize was scooped by Kerrin McEvoy for the third year in a row, after he rode to victory on Classique Legend.
Ghost town: The Royal Randwick is typically a bustling event, with long queues and many fighting for a chance to get a table, but this year festivities looked remarkably different
What a difference a year makes: The Everest is one of Australians biggest racing days in the calendar with thousands packing out the racecourse in 2019 (pictured left 2019) but this year crowds were sparse (right, in 2020)
Snap a picture: One couple took a moment to pose for a photo to commemorate attending the new-look 2020 Everest Carnival
Obeying the rules: One group of men seemed unbothered by the restrictions forcing them to stay in their seat while they enjoyed a drink
Wash your hands: The Australian Turf Club had hand sanitiser available for patrons, as washing your hands has been recommended by health bodies to avoid the spread of coronavirus
Coronavirus restrictions mean people must remain seated while enjoying a drink and watching the horses race.
There are also limits on how many people can be outside and watching the horses at any one time, and everyone must sign in and have their temperature checked upon arrival.
Australian Turf Club Chairman Matthew McGrath said last month: ‘The health and well-being of our patrons, riders, supporters and staff is incredibly important, and we will have a limited capacity on site due to the Public Health Orders that are in place.
‘However everyone will get the chance to enjoy the 2020 Everest Carnival whether they are lucky enough to be at the races or watching from home, live and free on Channel 7 or Sky Racing.’
Limits for outdoor events in New South Wales increased to 500 people on Friday.
Despite the subdued crowds, many patrons appeared to embrace the COVID-19 restrictions in place and dressed up for their day at the races.
Seating covered the lawn at the Royal Randwick so it could be meeting COVID-safe rules, where people typically stand to cheer on jockeys and horses (pictured left, 2020, pictured right, 2019)
Strike a pose: A couple took an opportunity to quickly stand so they could snap the perfect picture but the background showed an empty seating area that would normally be filled with people
Mask up: A group of men decided to wear masks to promote safety at the Everest, as the NSW government recommends wearing a face mask in places it is hard to social distance
Spring carnivals such as Everest are usually the highlight of the Australian racing season outside of the Melbourne Cup, however a cap on patrons has left the huge Royal Randwick looking empty (pictured left, 2020, pictured right, 2019)
Many were seen seated as they soaked up the sun and enjoyed the festivities.
But some took an opportunity to quickly stand so they could snap the perfect picture.
People in NSW have been living with COVID-safe rules since businesses opened in late May and were no strangers to having their temperatures checked.
Some laughed while they leaned in to be given the tick of approval, while others looked bored by the process.
Following the rules: Many people were seen seated as they soaked up the sun and enjoyed the festivities, in accordance with COVID-safe guidelines
The Royal Randwick typically has long queues just to enter the racecourse but today it was easy for patrons to walk inside
Temperature check: Patrons were asked to have their temperatures checked before they entered the Royal Randwick racecourse on Saturday
Others chose to wear masks but the majority went mask-free, while staff and security were required to wear face masks at the Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
The Everest is typically one of Australia’s biggest days in racing but due to the restrictions the stands, private lounges and outdoor area looked empty in comparison.
Tables were spaced out more than two metres apart, with the event typically have very little seating so close to the horses during other carnivals.
The fashion competition that is typically featured at spring carnivals also have a new look.
The Everest Carnival have launched a digital fashion competition called Spring Style Stakes, which encourages fashionistas across Australia to upload a photo or video in their fabulous raceday outfit from the races or at home.
Amazing prizes are on offer, such as a $2,500 cash prize.
Staying safe: Staff and security at Royal Randwick racecourse wore masks while working at the Everest on Saturday
2020: Coronavirus restrictions have made hundreds of events be forced to limit patronage to meet social distancing requirements (pictured left, 2020, pictured right, 2019)
The Everest, an annual 1,200m invitational horse race, was held at Randwick Racecourse, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, on October 17 (pictured)