The decision by the Victorian government to allow up to 10,000 double-vaccinated fans to attend this year's Melbourne Cup has sparked heated debate on social media.
Victorian citizens who've had both their Covid-19 jabs will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup and live music within weeks under a large-scale trial of crowd numbers.
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About 10,000 racing fans will be able to attend the 'race that stops a nation' on November 2, while Oaks Day and Stakes Day will be allowed similar-sized crowds.
A live music event will also be held at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl on October 30 with thousands of people in the audience.
“The Melbourne Cup crowd is a guaranteed crowd, it’s part of a trial,” Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We would hope we have then, by that stage, passed 80 per cent double dosed and we can at that point confirm that the last two events of the carnival, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Oaks Day and Stakes Day, will also have crowds of up to 10,000 people.”
The premier said the events send an important signal about changes over the coming months.
"We're going to normalise this virus, we are going to move through this difficult gateway, we're going to open up and we're going to be back doing what we do best," he told reporters.
The events are part of a large-scale trial of how the state's economy will run once it hits 80 per cent vaccination thresholds - expected to be on about November 5.
The premier's announcement came after Victoria recorded 1890 new locally acquired cases on Sunday - agonisingly close to an alarming milestone of 2,000 daily infections which has never been reached by any state or territory.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the decision to allow crowds at the Melbourne Cup has been met with a mixed response from the Australian public, with many hailing a
Fantastic news ..crowd of 10 thousand fully vaccinated people will be allowed into the Melbourne Cup. Hopefully the race that stops the nation will now help kick start our state . Also live music starts with Myer Music Bowl concert on October 30th. 10am “Sunday Morning” @3AW693
— NickMcCallum7 (@NickMcCallum7) October 10, 2021
We're going to have a crowd at the Melbourne Cup!!! 🏇🎉💃
— Natalie Yoannidis (@NatYoannidis) October 10, 2021
Crowds for at least three of the four days during Melbourne Cup Carnival @FlemingtonVRC
Having crowds back for these days of racing will add something extra and everyone will be happy to be back on track.
— Ben Carbonaro (@pasta_carbonaro) October 10, 2021
MELBOURNE CUP DAY is BACK… 🐎
MUSIC is BACK… 🎶
Still a long way to go…but it feels like Melbourne is coming back too.
— Catherine Murphy (@CathMurphySport) October 10, 2021
A terrible decision to have 10,000 at the #MelbourneCup.
It’s always one rule for the racing industry, and another for the rest.
The entertainment industry will still face patron density limits, while one of the richest industries, built on cruelty, gets a huge numbers boost.
— Andy Meddick MP (@AndyMeddickMP) October 10, 2021
I honestly don’t give two stuffs about crowds at the Melbourne Cup. I’d rather hear confirmation about the restrictions easing for the every day elements of our lives still on hold
— Tara Murray (@taramurray339) October 10, 2021
— Liz (@justarandomliz) October 10, 2021
10,000 spectators in a few weeks can go to the Melbourne Cup
But right now I can’t drive over 15 kms to a golf course or play with 3 other mates
I don’t get it 😗
— Andrew Kirby (@AndrewKirbyGolf) October 10, 2021
Reading tweets criticising Vic government for allowing 10K at the Melbourne Cup. Imagine the criticism if (considering we should be close if not at 80% DD vaccinated) no people were allowed or no ace at all. Really can't win.
— Guido Tresoldi (@GuidoTresoldi) October 10, 2021
Daily Covid-19 cases remain high in Victoria
Expectations were that the state would become the first to exceed 2000 reported cases in a single day, following a record 1965 infections on Saturday along with five fatalities.
Sunday's slightly lower figure comes as Victoria manages more than 18,340 active cases.
Almost 40,000 vaccines were administered across the state on Saturday, while 74,105 tests were conducted.
Meanwhile, tracing efforts across the state have been scaled back to focus on positive cases and primary contacts.
About 16,000 secondary contacts are being allowed to leave isolation this weekend as authorities change their processes to manage the escalating case numbers.
Primary contacts are being asked to isolate away from the rest of their household and secondary contacts are being encouraged to get tested if they show symptoms.
Vaccination rates continue to rise in Victoria. As of Friday evening, 85 per cent of over 16s had one dose and 57 per cent were fully vaccinated.
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