Alert levels playing havoc with community events


life is not easy in a Covid-19 restricted world — just ask anyone trying to plan an event or resume monthly outings.

All events being organised over recent weeks have been on a ‘‘to be confirmed’’ basis, including social gatherings among the older population.

While some small groups regularly hosted in Central Otago have resumed, others were abruptly halted as Alert Level 2 was re-introduced.

Among them was a newly formed aged care support group for people in Wanaka.

The group is a joint initiative between Wanaka St John and Age Concern, designed to give older residents somewhere to go for a social outing once a month.

Wanaka St John chairwoman Dell Taylor said the group hosted its first event at Wanaka’s St John rooms in March.

It attracted about 14 people, who were treated to morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Representatives of an outreach pet therapy group also took part, along with dogs and event organisers.

However, lockdown and various alert levels have meant it has yet to resume.

Miss Taylor said the plan was to host three trial events and that was still in the pipeline, but just when was anyone’s guess.

‘‘We are keen to get between 20 to 30 on a regular basis.’’

Central Otago Age Concern co-ordinator Marie Roxburgh supported the idea of people continuing social interaction whenever possible.

‘‘It’s great that some things are still going ahead because they’ve got to keep living.’’

She said there were small changes people could make if they became more housebound as a result of the outbreak.

‘‘A lot of people need to get out walking, get out and smell the roses, get that vitamin D to make them feel a bit better.’’

Among the groups that continued throughout lockdown was Meals on Wheels.

Co-ordinator Annette Meyer said the service, offered through Alexandra Community Advice Network and Central Otago Health Services, was altered to ensure physical distancing.
However, it has since resumed normal operations.

The network also launched a volunteer driver service in July, which has proved popular among people needing to get to places, such as medical appointments, the shops or library.

More volunteers are needed to help meet demand, Mrs Meyer said.

While the service is on a volunteer basis, any donations made are put towards petrol vouchers for the drivers.


Alert level timeline


– March 21, Level 2
– March 23, Level 3
– March 25, Level 4
– April 27, Level 3
– May 13, Level 2
– June 8, Level 1
– August 12, Level 3 for the Auckland region and Level 2 for rest of country
– August 30, Level 2.5 for Auckland in-line with rest of country
– On Monday it will be decided if conditions change for Auckland to allow more people at gatherings. Cabinet will also confirm on Monday if the rest of New Zealand will move to Level 1.

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