SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Saratoga Race Course will open to 100% capacity this summer. Local businesses are gearing up but could still use some extra help.

“It feels like it’s Christmas morning,” Joyce Locks, Owner of Hatsational said.

You’ll get in for free on opening day July 15 if you show proof of vaccination. But with Governor Andrew Cuomo lifting COVID restrictions this week, fans don’t have to provide vaccination status for all other visits.

 The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) says those who are non-vaccinated must still wear a mask.

All downtown Saratoga on Wednesday you could feel the excitement from both trackgoers and local businesses.

“I have been going for over 50 years. I used to own horses and run horses over there, so I’m looking forward to getting back there,” said Dave Engel, resident of Niskayuna.

“We weren’t expecting it so soon, but we’re thrilled. It’s really going to make a difference this summer,” said Helen Watson.  

For a woman of many hats Joyce Locks, the owner of Hatsational in Saratoga, is ready to have customers browse the shelves for the perfect track fashion staples.

“All I have heard the last year and a half is we have no place to go, and sorry, we are just here to look. Now I think people will be dressing up and loving every minute of it,” said Locks. 

Rooms are filling up and phones are ringing off the hook at the Adelphi Hotel. General Manager Helen Watson says it’s shaping up to be their busiest month yet since they reopened in 2017. But they are still facing some challenges when it comes to staffing.

“It’s been a struggle. We are getting there but not quite to the extent we like. I’m a little nervous for summer. I know everyone is. A lot of our general managers are gearing up and spending a lot of time helping in housekeeping that’s for sure,” said Watson.

As businesses gear up for opening day in July, many places, including the track, are still hiring. Hatsational is also looking for summer help as well.

“We also have a tent in the track, so we need a couple of extra people for the summer,” Locks said.

Anyone who is interested in working at Saratoga this summer should visit for more information about available positions.