For the first time in its 117-year history, Addington Cup Week will not be open to the public.
Last month it was announced the event would be going ahead but the public would be shut out entirely unless the region was moved down to level 1 restrictions.
Addington Raceway CEO Brian Thompson said they were hopeful the South Island would have dropped down an alert level with enough time to create and deliver the event as usual but time has now run out.
He said the event will be a smaller racing industry day for members, owners, trainers and business partners.
Racing Industry Manager at Addington Darrin Williams told John MacDonald on Newstalk ZB that they waited as long as they could to make the decision.
"People will be as frustrated as we are. It's gutting for us as a venue. The team here and the wider team, this is what we live and breathe for, this is the heart of harness racing.
"The racing will still happen but it's not the same experience that we wanted to give everyone."
Williams said they are thinking about rolling out a "cup at your place" campaign.
"The experience of being on the property will change to people hosting in at their own place."
Cup Week makes up about 20 per cent of their income, Williams said.
Due to the large amount of temporary infrastructure required to host the regular crowd of more than 20,000 people, it was necessary to make a decision three weeks prior to the event, he said.
The level 2 event will see racing industry participants in small pods throughout the facilities.
Major sponsor, IRT Director, Richard Cole said, "IRT looks forward to hosting industry participants in a safe environment and celebrating the exceptional quality of racing that is always prominent at harness racing's most prestigious race day".
All hospitality packages had been sold out months ago and these tickets will now be refunded.
The Crossing Fashion Starts Here competition has been reinvented for 2021. The iconic competition will run online with new categories and can be entered nationwide. Entries opened on Friday October 15.
Addington Cup Week 2021 kicks off with the IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup Day on Tuesday, November 9.
The Show Day Races are scheduled for Friday, November 12.