11 new cases linked to Bluff wedding cluster

The  Bluff wedding linked to eight cases was understood to have been held at Oyster Cove. Photo:...
62 people who attended the wedding, held at the Oyster Cove restaurant and bar on 21 March, have so far tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Google
Another 11 people connected to a wedding in Bluff have tested positive for Covid-19.

The wedding is one of the largest clusters of positive cases in the country, and a total of 73 people associated with the event have now contracted the virus.

It was held at Oyster Cove Restaurant and Bar on March 21, before a ban on large gatherings was introduced, and was attended by about 70 guests.

The owners, who made all staff isolate after the wedding, said guests had travelled from all around the country.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said all 11 of the new positive cases were already in isolation.

 

New Zealand's largest cluster, linked to Marist College in Auckland's Mt Albert, grew by five people in the last day, to 77 cases.

The number of cases linked to the World Hereford conference in Queenstown (up three to 35), an Auckland workplace, an event in Auckland and a group travelling to the United States has also risen slightly.

More than half of the new confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, confirmed in the past 24 hours, are connected to clusters.

The government announced the country would enter a nationwide lockdown two days after the Bluff wedding, which about 80 people, including restaurant staff, attended.

The restaurant's director Ross Jackson said they took precautions in case someone present had the virus.

"We were aware of what was going on, we stepped up our sanitising, we had sanitising stations at the two entrances into the restaurant where all of the guests were asked to sanitise their hands.

"We were constantly sanitising all of the surfaces that were being used...we said to staff, where possible create a bit of distance between yourself and the guests. I think we took all of the practical precautions we could've, given the information we had at the time," Jackson said.

He said at the time, going ahead with the wedding seemed like the right thing to do, but, "in hindsight, if we knew then what we know now, we probably wouldn't have done it."

Jackson was hesitant to host the event, but at the time events with fewer than 100 people in attendance could still go ahead.

"It would've been a pretty hard call just to ring someone up and say the day before you're wedding, 'look we don't want to go ahead with this'. We were cautious, that's why we took the extra precautions at the time in case there was someone there with the virus."

The couple held their wedding reception at the restaurant and bar, which Jackson described as a "nice" and "orderly affair", but had a more relaxed get together the next day at another location, he said.

Wedding guests travelled from across the country, including from Invercargill, Wellington and Wairarapa, he said.

Jackson said all of his staff had been tested negative for Covid-19.

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