Events pulled up at red light

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Waitangi weekend's Multi Cultural Bite in Ashburton has been cancelled.

Fundraisers, reunions, sporting events and celebrations have been put on hold, rescheduled or cancelled due to the nationwide move this week to Red under the covid traffic light system.

It came into place at 11.59pm on Sunday night after it was announced Omnicron was potentially transmitting in the community.

Around Mid Canterbury organisers of events have been scrambling.

Ashburton Aviation Museum members, due to hold their Militaria and Aviation Extravaganza over Waitangi weekend, have changed the date to March 19 and 20.

The Ashburton Pakeke Lions charity market garage sale has been postponed, as has the Rakaia School 150th Jubilee. Both events will confirm new dates later in the year.

So far event cancellations have been confirmed by the South Island Motorshow Home Show, Ashburton Festival of Pipe Bands, St John Garden Fete Fundraiser and Multi Cultural Bite Ashburton.

St John Mid Canterbury executive officer Elaine Vallender said organisers of the fete were ‘‘absolutely gutted as hundreds of hours of work have gone into the event a lot of money had already been committed or spent.’’

This was the major fundraiser planned for 2022 and had already been postponed from October last year, she said.

‘‘We looked at other options within the covid guidelines, but it became impossible. We are now hoping people in the Ashburton District will support us in other ways.’’

It was a similar sentiment from organisers of Multi Cultural Bite.

‘‘It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Multi Cultural Bite … We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment not only to the stallholders, performers, and volunteers but also to the spectators of the event.

“However, we honor and respect the Government’s decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff and attendees.

‘‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we can not push through under the Red Light System due to the complexity of protocols that should be followed.

‘‘It is the first time in many years that we will cancel this event. Rest assured that we will be back with better and more exciting MCB in the years to come. See you next year!’’

Earlier this week 10 covid cases in the Nelson/Marlborough region from one household had been confirmed, along with others in Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said managing Omicron cases in the early stage remained the same as Delta with rapid testing, contact tracing and the isolating of cases and contacts in order to slow the spread.

“But as we have seen elsewhere in the world Omicron is significantly more infectious and in due course we know we will see far more cases than we have in the two years of the pandemic to date.’’

However more people were vaccinated and the country was better prepared, she said.