3 November 2020

Melbourne Cup another test for COVID-free Canberra

| Michael Weaver
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Champagne glasses on a table with horse race on television in background.

Canberra police and health authorities are urging people to enjoy Melbourne Cup while keeping social distancing in mind. Photo: File.

Venues in Canberra will be at capacity today, but ACT Policing and ACT Health are reminding people to continue the winning run of COVID-free days for Melbourne Cup celebrations.

If you haven’t already got a plan for the race that stops a nation, the advice is to simply stay at home or work.

ACT Policing will be targeting anti-social behaviour as well as drink and drug driving on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening, while ACT Health is urging people to keep up the Territory’s good work in keeping Canberra COVID-safe.

Canberra’s deputy chief police officer Commander Michael Chew said Melbourne Cup is a day for fun; however, police want people to enjoy themselves responsibly and keep social distancing in mind.

“Social distancing is a part of life now, but people still need to have fun and enjoy the day,” he said.

Commander Chew said police had been generally happy with people’s behaviour during the past couple of years and he wanted to see that continue in 2020.

“If you’re attending a Melbourne Cup party, house party or were one of the lucky few who snared a ticket to Thoroughbred Park, please make sure you know your limits when drinking alcohol and look after your mates.

“If you are drinking, don’t drive. Catch public transport, use a designated driver, or hop in a taxi or rideshare service,” he said.

ACT Policing will be continuing COVID-19 isolation checks throughout the week as well as random and static drink and drug testing of drivers.

More than 850 COVID-19 quarantine checks were conducted in the past week, bringing the total number to more than 16,500 during Canberra’s COVID-19 response.

READ ALSO Clubbing in the age of COVID-19

An ACT Health spokesperson also reminded people to abide by the restrictions in place for gambling and hospitality venues.

“If hospitality venues are crowded, go somewhere else and support another business.

“Provide your contact details to venues to ensure contact tracing can occur quickly if there is a new positive case of COVID-19 in the ACT,” the spokesperson said.

“Stick to your booking. Bringing extra people without checking with the venue first means the venue might be over its capacity limit and can’t accommodate your group. Alternatively, not showing up at all with no notice means a business has lost that income and the opportunity to rebook another group.

Further information on changes to COVID-19 restrictions in place as part of step 3.2 restrictions are on the ACT COVID-19 website.

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