As the summer season is about to begin, camping grounds in the region are preparing for an influx of people- and Covid-19.
In Alexandra, the Alexandra Holiday Park was setting up for a strong season and many regular visitors returning.
Owner Janice Graham said although the park was not requiring vaccine passes, restrictions had been put in place to keep campers safe.
Under an Orange light, accommodation providers can open without restrictions.
Access to the park was limited to one entrance and exit, and visitors were not allowed on site.
Campers would receive a wristband to indicate they were staying at the park and those without bands would be removed, she said.
“We’re doing what we can, and we don’t know what we don’t know. Our fear is that people do what they’re not supposed to do,” Mrs Graham said.
Glendhu Bay Motor Camp, near Wanaka, is fully booked for the summer, with a waiting list.
Camp manager Phil Hunt said he had received some cancellations due to people not wanting to be on site with unvaccinated campers but overall, things were looking good for the season.
The camp would not be requiring vaccine passes, due to its location on a council reserve and the need to keep the camp store available to people, he said.
“Yes I’m concerned about Covid but [the camping ground] is probably one of the safest places to be.”
Planning for a possible case of Covid-19 or people deemed close contacts at the camp was not new to the camp, having had more than 50 people isolating there during both Alert Level 4 lockdowns.
Mr Hunt said the biggest risk to the camp would be from vaccinated young people heading into town socialising and bringing it back with them.
He had organised regular wastewater testing for the camp, which was on its own wastewater system, to ensure early detection of the virus.
Campers deemed close contacts or who contracted the virus and needed to self-isolate would be moved to a more isolated location within the camp and provided with a separate Portaloo.
Provisions were in place to be able to do grocery shopping for them, he said.
In Wanaka, the Outlet Camping ground decided at the beginning of November not to open this summer and would reopen at a unspecified date.
Camp manager Amy Pearl confirmed the closure and directed questions to the camp’s social media where updates on the situation would be posted.
On its website, a message says the decision was not made lightly, and was due to the pandemic and management not having confidence in being able to keep guests safe.
The accommodation industry was still waiting for guidance from the Government about how to deal with Covid-19-positive visitors, particularly among campers who shared communal areas such as kitchens and toilets.
Holiday Parks New Zealand chief executive Fergus Brown said holiday parks and camping grounds were still relatively safe places to stay because people spent most of their time outdoors.
His organisation had not received any briefings from public health officials and Mr Brown said every situation would be different.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said it would not be practical to send thousands of out-of-town campers home to isolate if they had to travel long distances.
Additional reporting Marjorie Cook and RNZ