Colonial Downs to serve 20,000 free meals to Virginia’s coronavirus first responders, pay employees through April

by: Adrienne Mayfield
Posted: Mar 25, 2020 / 10:30 AM EDT / Updated: Mar 25, 2020 / 10:36 AM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s only horse racing track is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but its owners are placing their bets on the commonwealth’s medical professionals, first responders, and grocery store workers to help communities through the crisis.

The Colonial Downs Group — which operates the Colonial Downs horse racing track in New Kent County — has committed to serving 20,000 free “grab and go” meals to Virginia’s coronavirus first responders during the crisis. These include doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery store workers, and others who are stepping up to serve their community, according to a news release.

The company owns several off-track betting facilities, called Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums, in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent County and Vinton (outside Roanoke).

The kitchens at the off-track betting facilities will be used to cook the grab and go meals. The Colonial Downs Group is working with the localities it does business with to determine who meals should go to and it will begin distributing them on April 1, the news release states.

Here are the guidelines from Rosie’s:

Must place meal order one day in advance; unable to take day of orders.
Pickup available from 11AM-7PM
Orders taken Monday through Friday
Meals available Tuesday through Saturday
Limited menu created based on local resource availability.
Groups of 10 or more encouraged.
Phone numbers to call to order meals:

New Kent: (804) 557-5444
Richmond: (804) 557-5500
Hampton: (804) 557-5600
Vinton: (804) 557-5480

The Colonial Downs Group shut down the horse racing track and its Rosie’s locations on March 15; however, it will continue to pay employees through the end of April.

“Like all Virginians, we are trying to navigate through an incredibly stressful and difficult time. We want our employees to know we are taking every step possible to get them through this period, and that we value their service,” Colonial Downs Group CEO Aaron Gomes wrote in a news release. “That is why we raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour last year at all of our facilities, and it is why we are taking this action today.”