The Melbourne Cup to go ahead with 10k punters

October 14, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The Victorian government has guaranteed a crowd of 10,000 fully vaccinated patrons will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup and announced a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of a series of trials for its new, “vaccinated economy”.

The racing carnival will be used to trial new technology designed to screen for proof-of-vaccination. All patrons will be required to wear masks and will be separated into five sections, with allocated seats for the service of food and drink.

The final two days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival — Oaks Day and Stakes Day — will also welcome up to 10,000 patrons if the 80 per cent double-jab threshold has been passed. However, the vaccination threshold will not be reached in time for crowds to attend Penfolds Derby Day on October 30. 

Health authorities said the 25-kilometre travel radius for Melbourne will apply if Victoria has not yet reached 80 per cent double-vaccination by the day of the event. It means those living further than 25kms from Flemington Racecourse will not be able to attend the event.

Racing Victoria’s Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said, “With the clarity now afforded around our biggest week of the year and the latest projections around when Victoria will reach the 80 per cent fully vaccinated target, we have sought to provide certainty for our clubs, participants and local communities on our plans for the resumption of spectators.

“Following consultation with CRV and a number of country clubs, we have set our target for the resumption of spectators in accordance with the Government’s road map as Thursday, 4 November or the date thereafter where Victoria reaches the 80% fully vaccinated target…

“With light at the end of the tunnel for racing fans the message now is a simple one. If you want to enjoy a day at the races with family and friends, please roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated.”

Vaccinated economy trial program

In creating the trial program, the Victorian Government engaged with a variety of industry peak bodies, including the Australian Hotels Association. The trial will run until Sunday, 24 October when then the state will have reached the 70 per cent double dose vaccination threshold.

Venues participating in the trial are open to fully vaccinated patrons with the Victorian Government supporting them implement processes for verifying vaccination status.

The trial will continue despite Victoria recording 2,297 cases on Thursday, Australia’s highest single-day total.

Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy said that the record case numbers must not deter the state from re-opening next week. He said that the focus should remain on vaccination levels which are ahead of forecast.

When Victoria hits the 70 per cent double dose milestone – forecast to be by the weekend of 23-24 October – hospitality will reopen to 50 patrons outdoors and the 9.00 pm curfew will be dropped.

In the ACT, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says 98.8 per cent of the territory’s eligible population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with lockdown to end at Friday midnight.

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