Covid concerns as thousands descend on Greymouth for event

For the Grey District Council, there is a lot of catch-up work and some hard decisions. Photo:...
Some Greymouth people have expressed concern with the influx of people from outside the region. Photo: Getty Images
Upwards of 4000 people are bound for Greymouth this weekend, as the women's only adventure race the Spring Challenge goes ahead under Covid restrictions.

The 456 teams of three, along with support people and families, will begin arriving in town tomorrow.

Some Greymouth people have expressed concern with the influx of people from outside the region, and one businesswoman, who did not want to be named, questioned whether it should even go ahead, given the current Covid situation.

"Flare-ups don't just happen, they take a couple of weeks, and with this number of people coming into town some locals will not feel safe," she said.

Asked what measures had been taken to keep the Greymouth community safe, Spring Challenge organiser Nathan Faavae said he understood the concerns, and expected all visitors to be responsible for their own and others' welfare while out and about.

"As organisers of the event, we do not have control of what people in Greymouth for the event, do out in the community. One would hope none of the competitors will flout the current Covid protocols when they go to supermarkets, petrol stations and cafes and restaurants," Mr Faavae said.

"The normal Covid protocols need to be followed and it is up to the Greymouth people to ensure the visitors do follow the rules."

The event had been months in the making. The course and starting point is a closely guarded secret until competitors pick up their starting pack on Friday night.

"At level 2 we have been working closely with the Ministry of Health, the West Coast District Health Board and other government agencies to ensure we run the event with all the correct Covid protocols in place.

"We have met all of the guidelines to run an event, and if we did not, the Spring Challenge would not be going ahead."

Changes had been made to the way the event would be run on Saturday, he said.

"The first thing is participants are not to attend if they are unwell; registration packs are to be picked up (from the Westland Recreation Centre on Friday) by the team captain only; the race briefing will be mailed to teams and posted on the event Facebook Page and website.

"The event itself will have competitors leaving the start line in waves or 90, with the first group heading off at 6.45am, then continuing until 1.45pm, and support crews are limited to one person -- usually teams have as many as four."

The awards ceremony on Sunday at the recreation centre is now restricted to the top three teams in each section to keep a lid on numbers.

 - Viv Logie

 

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