Cox Plate backflip after Vic backlash.
The Victorian government has backflipped over its controversial call to allow a select group of spectators on course for the 100th running of the Cox Plate after intense political and online backlash.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula apologised after just hours earlier announcing up to 500 racing connections would be able to attend Moonee Valley for Friday night's Manikato Stakes and Saturday's Cox Plate.
He said he'd spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club on Tuesday night and the decision had been reversed.
The Victorian government has backflipped over its controversial call to allow a select group of spectators at the Cox Plate after being blasted over the decision online.https://t.co/0iesYjxf5H— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) October 20, 2020
"It was a mistake, given that other restrictions remain in place, and we've heard the community feedback," he tweeted.
Ellen Sandell, acting leader of the state Greens, branded the original decision a kick in the guts to Victorians after months of being unable to see family, go to funerals, have visitors at the hospital or open their businesses.
"It seems to be one rule for them and another rule for the rest of Victoria," she said in a statement.
COVIDSafe arrangements including a 1000-person course cap, staggered arrivals, temperature checks, social distancing and takeaway only food and beverage services had been planned.
Tonight I’ve spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the decision’s been reversed. Owners won’t return to the race track until we reach the next stage of the easing of restrictions. I apologise for any upset that has been caused 2/2— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) October 20, 2020