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Aintree Festival and Grand National 2021

Sefton Council continues to work jointly with Aintree Festival organisers, Merseyside Police and other partners to ensure the safety of this year’s event which is taking place behind closed doors from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th April.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic only owners, trainers and staff will be allowed onto the racecourse during the three-day festival.

People living and working in the Aintree area may see a higher than normal police presence over the coming days. Officers from Merseyside Police will be patrolling streets and footpaths in the area around the course to remind people of the need to abide by Covid-19 regulations on social distancing and gathering in groups, even when outside.

Residents are reminded that the SMART Coronavirus testing centre at Aintree Racecourse is now closed until Sunday 11th April, while the Grand National meeting takes place.

The Borough’s two other SMART testing centres, at Bootle Leisure Centre and Splash World in Southport, will be open as normal from 8am to 8pm every day. People can find out more about testing in Sefton at

Chief Superintendent Paul White said: “In keeping with the current Government guidelines this year’s Aintree festival will take place behind closed doors.

“We know that the event is traditionally a huge part of Merseyside’s social calendar and annually attracts large crowds from across the UK and the world who attend over the three days.

“This year’s event will be taking place behind closed doors, which is a huge shame, however we are clearly in unprecedented times.

“We have been working closely with Aintree to ensure that the festival can still take place safely and as such there will be a proactive and proportionate policing operation and you will see officers in the streets and footpaths around the course reminding people of the current Coronavirus regulations.

We know that there are some people whose homes are adjacent to the racecourse and we have already engaged with them to remind them of the current Covid regulations, including the rule of six or only two households allowed to gather in private gardens and that households are not allowed to mix indoors.

“We would ask everyone to play their part to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS by continuing to stick to the rules and working together so we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We understand how important the Grand National Festival is to not just Sefton but the whole Liverpool City Region and the horse racing community. I’d like to echo the words of our police colleagues and remind people not to be tempted to mix indoors or to get together in large groups to mark the occasion over the coming days.

“Many of our residents might be planning garden gatherings, so I would just remind everyone to ensure they take extra precautions and stick to the rule of six or two household limit on meeting outdoors.

“You are less likely to catch Covid in the open air but it’s not impossible and we should try to follow the basics of hands, face and space when meeting with others and not sharing things like picnic or BBQ equipment. Our priority is to ensure the rate of transmission in our communities continues to fall and we can all play our part in that by following the guidance.” 

The Council’s traffic management team is working with event organisers to ensure there is as little disruption as possible to the road network across the behind closed doors festival’s three days.

Some closures will be in place as follows:

  • Melling Road will be closed north of Seeds Lane for the whole festival;
  • Melling Road south of Seeds lane will be closed from 07.00hrs – 21.00hrs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Festival (8th, 9th and 10th April);
  • Aintree Station Car Park and Interchange will be closed for the whole festival.