By Benita Kolovos in Melbourne
The stage is set for theatre productions to return to Melbourne, though capacity limits could remain a fixture, as the state reported 1003 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths.
As of Wednesday, there have been 100,162 cases in the state since the pandemic began and 1206 deaths.
Just under 93 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have received at least one vaccine dose and 84.5 per cent both, with almost all restrictions set to be scrapped for the fully vaccinated when the state reaches 90 per cent double-dosed.
This is forecast to occur about November 24.
However, Events Minister Martin Pakula has indicated capacity limits could remain at entertainment venues.
“Bear in mind for a show like Harry Potter, it’s likely there will be under 12s here, which means there will be a number of unvaccinated people, so that may have an impact and will come to a landing on what (the capacity limit) is soon,” Mr Pakula told reporters at the Princess Theatre on Wednesday.
Currently, indoor seated venues can operate at up to 75 per cent capacity, with Moulin Rouge! The Musical premiering at the Regent Theatre on Friday and Disney’s Frozen returning at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the same night.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child returns on November 18, with the production announcing an entirely new performance will be staged from next year.
The original, five-hour, two-part play will finish on March 27 and will be replaced with a shorter, one-session production from May.
Melbourne will be the first production outside of the United States to feature the new version, which executive producer Michael Cassel said will broaden the show’s appeal and accessibility.
Mr Pakula said it was great to see a buzz of activity return to the city following repeated lockdowns.
“We have people coming back to the city, our restaurants filling up, our bars filling up and people staying overnight,” he said.
“This theatre district will once again be the lifeblood of the night time economy here in this great city, we have waited a long time for that to be the case.”
SNAPSHOT OF VICTORIA’S CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK:
* Active COVID-19 cases: 15,031
* Deaths reported on Wednesday: 14. About 83 per cent of COVID-19 deaths during the current outbreak were not fully vaccinated.
* 471 COVID-19 cases in hospital, a decrease of 108 since Tuesday, including 84 in intensive care and 46 on ventilators.
* Seven-day hospitalisation average: 588, decrease of 27.
* Tests administered on Tuesday: 71,601
* Vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs: 10,778
Source: Victorian Department of Health