Major events disrupted in Alert Level 2

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The nation’s seesawing Covid-19 alert levels continue to wreak havoc on events across Central Otago this week.

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland would move to Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country to Alert Level 2 on Sunday, after a new community case was confirmed.

She said those alert levels would remain in place for at least a week, a move that was prompted by a 21-year-old man who went to a Papatoetoe gym instead of going home to self-isolate after getting a Covid-19 test.

He later tested positive.

People are reminded to stay home until a negative test result is received.

“Plainly, everyone is paying the price,” Ms Ardern said.

While some Central Otago events have continued under strict guidelines, others have been cancelled or postponed.

The Bowls New Zealand Summerset National Fours and Summerset National Mixed Pairs tournaments started last week, and the fours were poised to go into their finals day when the announcement was made on Saturday night.

New Zealand Bowls swiftly moved to restrict access to the greens to players and officials only.

That continued on Monday, when the mixed pairs tournament started and ran until yesterday.

Some event organisers have not been so lucky.

The Maniototo Rodeo, which was postponed in late December due to flooding, was scheduled to take place last Sunday.

However, the event was cancelled following the Government’s announcement on Saturday night.

Club president Stuart Weir, of Ranfurly, said he was disappointed as the committee had been looking forward to a great rodeo.

“At this stage we have cancelled it for this season.”

They were expecting about 240 competitors and a crowd of 800 to 1000.

He said it was not yet known what the financial loss would be.

Mr Weir thanked all supporters and sponsors who had helped the club.

The Macpac Motatapu off-road sporting event due to begin this weekend has been cancelled and organisers are offering transfer of entries to next year’s event, scheduled for March 5, 2022.

On Monday, the Alexandra Cultural Diversity Group cancelled its Multicultural Potluck gathering, which was due to take place at Dunstan High School’s Whare Whakaruruhau tomorrow.

The group’s next potluck event, scheduled for April 9 at 5.30pm, is still on.

A series of drop-in sessions organised by Christchurch Airport regarding its proposed airport near Tarras were also due to take place this week.

However, the sessions were cancelled and no new dates were planned.

The Otago Community Hospice also cancelled its annual Otago-wide street appeal planned for March 5.

Major sporting events are among those in limbo, including the 2021 South Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships, due to take place on Lake Ruataniwha, near Twizel, from tomorrow to Sunday.

Officials are working with School Sport NZ to determine whether events can take place at an alternative time.

Twizel’s plans to host hundreds of cavalcade participants and supporters on Saturday have also been dashed by the move to Alert Level 2.

Goldfields Cavalcade co-ordinator Terry Davis said that while the cavalcade was under way, for the first time it would not be able to end with a celebration in the host town.

Mr Davis said each individual trail was in effect isolated for the duration of the week from different locations and following different paths.

On the last night of the cavalcade, trail participants would be staying in separate areas around Twizel.

“But Saturday has been cancelled. Everyone will get up and go home; there will be no hoedown, no parade, no market.

“The biggest disappointment is for the host town. They’ve been working on this for 18 months, and had to go through hoops to get concessions and everything. They got everything finally signed off on Friday,” he said.

Wanaka A&P Show organisers announced on Tuesday they would continue plans to host the event, despite uncertainty around Covid-19 alert levels.

The show, due to take place on March 12 and 13, was still on the agenda thanks to financial support it had received, but it would only take place if there was a move to Alert Level 1.

Event manager Jane Stalker assured the public that if the show did go ahead, all safety requirements from the Ministry of Health would be adhered to.