Event organisers relieved about move to Level 1

Tarras merino sheep farmer and volunteer Robbie Gibson tidies up some sheep pens ahead of the 
Tarras merino sheep farmer and volunteer Robbie Gibson tidies up some sheep pens ahead of the Wanaka A&P Show. Photo: Kerre Waterworth
Event organisers across Otago are breathing a sigh of relief following the announcement the region will move to Alert Level 1 this weekend.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the alert level changes yesterday after five days of no cases of community transmission.

Jane Stalker
Jane Stalker
Auckland will move out of lockdown and drop to Level 2 from tomorrow and the rest of the country will move to Level 1.

Wanaka A&P Show event manager Jane Stalker said she was "extremely" relieved.

The event would have had to be cancelled under Level 2.

It was an anxious wait for the 4pm briefing, particularly because organisers had optimistically decided on Tuesday night to go ahead with the set-up, she said.

"We are all extremely relieved for everybody."

While it was possible alert levels would change again before the event, which is on Friday and Saturday next week, the team was staying positive.

"It is always in the back of our mind, but we are just going to go ahead glass half full," she said.

"I think we may have a wee celebration wine tonight."

Organisers of the Five Forks Foothills Trail Ride had taken precautions to allow the event to go ahead at Alert Level 2.

The two-day North Otago event attracted nearly 500 participants annually, and she was rapt organisers had been brave enough to go ahead with the event, co-ordinator Jane Smith said.

Today riders would be separated into groups of 100, each group with different QR codes and different facilities.

"We’re going the full monty. Logistically it has been quite a bit of extra work, but we believe it’s worthwhile to keep running our event and keep everybody safe."

Organisers spoke to the Ministry of Health to facilitate the event, and were satisfied with the outcome.

The event would return to "normal" tomorrow with the move to Alert Level 1.

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