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story.lead_photo.caption Horsemen work with their horses following the fifth race at Oaklawn on Saturday in front of an empty grandstand. Nadal won the Rebel Stakes at the track Saturday. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort said late Sunday it will voluntarily close its casino effective Monday for two weeks, but continue live horse racing without spectators during that time.

"With the unfortunate announcement Sunday afternoon that two people have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Garland County, Oaklawn has made the decision to voluntarily close the casino for two weeks effective Monday, March 16, at 8 a.m. through March 30.

"This includes Silks Bar and Grill, Bistro 2705 and the Sports Book. The racing operations will continue without spectators during this same time period," Oaklawn said in a news release.

“As good community citizen, we felt this was the right thing to do for public health,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said in the release. “As for the nearly 1,000 team members we have on staff during this live racing season, including all year round and seasonal team members, we will continue to pay their salary and benefits during this two-week period.

“As for racing, it has always been the lifeblood of Oaklawn and we are happy to offer the horsemen an avenue for racing their horses in these challenging times. While no fans are permitted to experience racing during this time, fans will be limited to watch and wager on Oaklawn Anywhere. We continue to monitor everything on a day to day basis. We appreciate the patience of our guests, team members and horsemen,” Cella said.

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