Seasonal town hall Christmas meal off

The Dunedin Town Hall community Christmas dinner has been cancelled after organisers were unwilling to exclude the unvaccinated.

The Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, which runs the dinner, made the call to cancel the communal Christmas meal after the logistics of providing a Christmas dinner to both the Covid-19 vaccinated and unvaccinated proved insoluble.

Trustee Grant Hardy said the trust had examined every option, but could not work out how to safely juggle guests and volunteers with the jab, and those without.

‘‘[The issue was] having to potentially turn people away, because a good number of the people that we might have coming probably may not be vaccinated.

‘‘It’s not something we’ve ever done is turn anyone away. That’s not cool.’’

Separate dining areas or deliveries of dinners to homes were among the solutions considered and rejected.

Home delivery in particular was looked at ‘‘quite hard’’, but uncertainty about the spread of Covid over the coming weeks ruled it out as an option.

A big part of the reason for hosting the dinner was to provide company for those who might otherwise be lonely on Christmas Day. About 500 guests normally attend.

Mr Hardy said there was scope for people to look out for those who might be lonely at Christmas in their neighbourhood.

This was the first time in more than 30 years the dinner had been cancelled.

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