The Cabinet Council of Panama gave its approval late last week for the Updated National-Provincial Reopening Plan, paving the way to resume a number of industries, including horse racing and lotteries. Casinos are still waiting to reactivate their operations.

The new regulations set out that the Hipódromo Presidente Remón, in Panama City, will be allowed to resume its schedule on September 28, but without the public in attendance. The national lottery, meanwhile, will reactivate its draws on October 12.

The Presidency explained in a statement that in order to lift the restrictions, the mortality risk has to be lower than 3%, while bed availability in hospitals has to be 20%.

Monty Motta, president of the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association of Panama (Appucapa), said: “Races are happening in all countries, except in Panama. We have complied with all the requirements of the Ministry of Health, we’ve met a few times in the last few months.”

“We totally agree that the races should be held without the public. In fact, the last two weekends of March we didn’t allow them to be here for the races. [Most] of the racetracks are operating like this, without an audience, that’s not a problem,” he said.

“The problem is that we need to reactivate this activity, there are 1,200 horses and we spend $20 a day on each of them, so that’s around $500 every month.”

Last week, the vice minister of Commerce and Industries Omar Montilla revealed that the authorities are considering reopening casinos, but they still haven’t set an official date.