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Wanaka’s popular open water swim event, The Ruby, has been cancelled this summer because of Covid-19 uncertainties.

The January 29 swimming races in Lake Wanaka ranged from 200m to 10km. Several were fully subscribed while others were selling well.

The annual event usually attracts about 500 swimmers plus a large crowd of spectators.

Entry fees ranged between $25 (for 200m) to $145 (for 10km) and 50% refunds are now being processed, according to the event’s entry terms and conditions.

Race co-director Eddie Spearing told The News yesterday he had taken the cancellation decision hard and he knew swimmers would, too.

But he and co-director Jamie Norman had to make a call because they were incurring costs.

Auckland would be getting out of lockdown on December 15, and there were fears more people moving around the country would escalate the spread of the Delta variant.

There was also too much uncertainty around the operation and policing of the Government’s new Covid-19 traffic light system, which comes into effect on December 2.

Other events were also being cancelled because of Covid uncertainty, including the Lake Hayes A&P Show and the Farm Jam.

It was fairer on everyone to cancel early, Mr Spearing said.

“We could have made the call now, or in December.

“We think it would be the same situation then but we would have incurred more costs and have less money to pay out . . .

“Or we could have held out, under the terms and conditions, until December 20, and then under the terms and conditions there would be no refund.

“We could have been cynical and done that,” Mr Spearing said.

The event would not make a profit from cancelling.

If there was any money left over after issuing refunds, it would be applied to costs and then to charities, he said.

The Ruby Swim does not qualify for the Government’s events transition support scheme, which underwrites large-scale summer festivals if the Covid-19 pandemic forces cancellation.

Large scale is defined as audiences of 5000 or more, such as the Rhythm & Alps music festival or the Gibbston Valley Concert.