Sunday, 29 March 2020

Harbourmaster repeats call for all non-essential on-water activity to stop

Lakes and rivers remain shut off for recreational use

Queenstown Lakes District Council Harbourmaster Marty Black has repeated his earlier call that all recreational users must stay away from lakes and rivers during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“These are not normal times for boaties, swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders. The government’s Alert Level 4 restrictions mean people must stay home, simple as,” said Mr Black.

“I find it unbelievable that people have been ignoring the current restrictions by, for example, paddle boarding at Kingston and surfing the Hawea wave today. If you get into trouble you are not only risking your own life but also the lives of rescuers, emergency services and medical professional who are busy enough as it is responding to the pandemic.”

In a media release yesterday from Maritime New Zealand, Director Keith Manch said any skipper who acts irresponsibly, or otherwise unnecessarily puts themselves or others on board at risk at any time – including during the current pandemic – faces potential enforcement action.

“In keeping with the Government’s measures to fight the spread of Coronavirus, and in support of the advice from our partners in the water safety sector, the strong message from the maritime safety regulator is that all recreational boating and other non-essential on-water activity must stop,” said Mr Manch.

Marty Black said this applied equally to swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders as much as boaties, and he has been speaking to NZ Police about ways to enforce Alert Level 4 restrictions on our lakes and rivers.

“Hopefully everyone will get the message loud and clear and I would ask that people help spread the word around their mates and groups. We are all in this together. Slowing down the spread of Covid-19 relies on everyone in our community abiding by the temporary rules however much they impact on our regular routine,” said Mr Black.

The full media release from Maritime NZ can be found here.

Other forms of recreation and exercise are permitted during Alert Level 4 including walk, running and biking but these must be done on your own, or only those with whom you are isolating (as per government advice to stay in your bubble). While exercising, please keep two metres apart from others, and don’t drive anywhere to do that exercise; stick to your neighbourhood.

Specific guidelines can be found online via the following links:
• Mountain Bike New Zealand –  Riding in a bubble 
• Department of Conservation – Take time in nature but stay close to home 

QLDC Sport and Recreation has also shared a link on its webpage to more than 100 free Les Mills online workouts from Les Mills across several different categories,  and is working with its own group fitness instructors to post more next week.

Full details about Alert Level 4 can be found here.

ENDS|KUA MUTU.

Media contact:
communications@qldc.govt.nz
or call 03 441 1802.