‘We are open’ Andrews announces return of major Melbourne events

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the return of major Melbourne events as part of a broader signal to the rest of the nation and world that “we are open”

While infections show no signs of slowing, Andrews is pinning his hopes on vaccines, with 15 venues in six regional LGAs set to trial higher capacity and density limits.

“They are a really important signal about what the next few months holds for all of us and that is we are going to normalise the virus, move through this difficult gateway and open up and be back doing what we do best and that is big events and all, the things that absolutely define us,” Andrews said.

“The food and wine, major events… whether it’s a live music or horse racing and everything in between, these are the sorts of things that are critical to our identity, to thousands and tens of thousands of jobs.”

As part of the new trials, Andrews also slated the return of live music starting on October 30 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with “several thousand” fully vaccinated people expected to be allowed to attend.

“That’s incredibly important for them and for the live music scene,” he said. “We are the live music capital of our nation that has been very tough.”

The Melbourne Cup is anticipated to see 10,000 patrons on the expectation that the state will have reached its 80 per cent vaccination target.

If the state hasn’t reached that vaccination threshold in time, only fully vaccinated patrons who live within 25km of Flemington Racecourse will be allowed to attend the Cup.

“It is all about those sorts of events being back; us as a state and economy and community being open and us having done everything we can now to fight against this virus, having stuck together, having looked out for each other, having got vaccinated, is the most important part,” Andrews said.

The full list of Regional Victoria vaccinated economy trial venues are below:

  • Warrnambool – Darlings of Beauty, Roberts One Real Estate, Warrnambool Racing Club (race meeting), Warrnambool Art Gallery.
  • Buloke – Terminus Hotel in Wycheproof
  • Bass Coast – North Pier Hotel in Cowes, Churchill Island Cafe
  • East Gippsland – East Gippsland Art Gallery in Bairnsdale, Lakes Squash and Movie Theatre in Lakes Entrance, Wilson Property in Traralgon
  • Greater Bendigo – Anglican Church of Australia in Flora Hill, Bendigo Art Gallery, Village Cinemas in Bendigo, Body Fit Training in Bendigo
  • Pyrenees Shire – Avoca Hotel

Victoria Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said the trials will be used to test which processes work best for establishing vaccination status.

Currently just under 60 per cent of Victoria’s eligible population is now fully vaccinated.