Despite Covid-19 alert levels going down at midnight, some upcoming events are either unlikely to go ahead or have been postponed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced this afternoon alert levels would drop from three in Auckland and two in the rest of the country.
Despite this, Napier’s Art Deco Festival remains cancelled and Auckland’s Splore festival and its pride parade have also been impacted.
Christchurch 2011 earthquake anniversary commemorations will go ahead as planned, however.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told Checkpoint he believed the change in levels was the right decision, balancing what needed to be done to contain the spread of the virus but not disrupting people’s lives and businesses any further.
He said he had let Cabinet know about the lockdown’s impact on the city, but ultimately the main recommendation was made by the Ministry of Health.
“I’m accepting of that and welcoming of it from the viewpoint of Aucklanders who do get their lives back now and the businesses that were being put under extreme pressure, some of them, because of a level 3 lockdown situation which severely cuts into their income,” Goff said.
It was doubtful the Ponsonby gay pride event would go ahead this weekend because of the need to limit numbers to 100 people under alert level 2, he said.
He would prefer that America’s Cup racing be delayed for another week but given that the challenger of record, Luna Rossa, had made it clear it wanted to resume it was probable that racing would start again with no crowds.
“My personal preference is err on the side of caution, put it back a week, and allow people to enjoy it but the rules will probably provide that they have to go in a different direction but there will be, I imagine, some fairly intense discussions between the authorities and the organisers of the race.”
Splore Festival has been postponed by a month, with organisers saying safety is of the utmost importance.
It will now take place on 26-28 March at Tāpapakanga Regional Park in Auckland.
Splore director John Minty said he wanted the community to celebrate safely while giving everybody as much certainty as possible.
Splore would largely remain the same, he said.
Auckland’s Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway open day, planned for Saturday, has also been postponed.
The New Zealand Transport Agency said with gatherings still restricted to 100 or less at level 2, the event could not go ahead.
It would be in contact with those who held tickets for this Saturday’s event once a new date had been confirmed.