Big events remain on track

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Organisers of several big Mid Canterbury events in the next few weeks are taking a pragmatic and positive approach that their hard work will not be wasted by continuing covid restrictions on gathering numbers.

Bookarama, Mardi Gras Mid Canterbury, the Rakaia salmon run and the Ashburton A&P show remain events firmly in progress.

Mardi Gras organiser Carol Johns said she was continuing to plan positively for her event on September 28. “I think we will be back in alert level 1 by then.”

The mardi gras is in place of Boulevard Day after organisers pulled the plug back in early July.

Mrs Johns said she had a full range of stallholders wanting to take part and good support for it to proceed. East Street will be closed to traffic and shops open along with stalls. The New Zealand Army Band will also be performing.

“Unless the Government tells me I can’t do it, I will be doing it.”

Under Alert Level 2, gatherings are limited to 100 people in a defined space. Government will review levels on Sunday.

Organisers of this year’s salmon run multisport event at Rakaia on October 17 are also continuing as normal. If the event has to be cancelled due to a change in covid levels, competitors will be refunded in full.

It will be the sixth year that the Rakaia Lions Club have organised the popular sports event. The salmon run committee met last week to discuss “these changeable times” and is confident the event will go ahead.

“It’s the most turbulent and uncertain times ever with Covid-19 levels and regulations being uppermost in everyone’s minds,” spokesperson Jo Burrows said. “But they are still confident that everyone is getting out and training for the various sporting goals they have and that people are trying to carry on life as normal as possible however stressful and uncertain matters become.”

She said the committee was taking every precaution possible and protocols required at the time would be closely followed. “To make it a little easier, all our events do start and finish at the Rakaia Domain, so the committee will have a QR code available for scanning at the registration tent and will be able to contact trace all competitors. Spectators and marshalls will also be able to use this QR Code.

“Hygiene will be obviously adhered to on all courses and the event numbers entered will be carefully managed.”

There are seven different events, including a half marathon, a 30km mountain bike and a four-discipline event with a kayak leg.

The Ashburton Rotary Club is continuing to collect and sort books for its week-long secondhand book sale.

Earlier this year, New Zealand spent 26 days in Alert Level 2 before moving to Alert Level 1 on June 9. There were no cases of community transmission. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already said managing cases and clusters is part of a level 2 scenario. Masks are mandatory on all public transport for anyone 12 years and over at this level.

There is also a bigger emphasis on contract tracing using the covid tracer app.