South Island companies are behind the shutdown, saying it is a devastating but necessary decision.
It has been more than a year since a community case was confirmed in the South Island, but it has joined the rest of the nation at alert level 4.
The lockdown began just after the South Island’s ski fields received their best snow dump of the year.
Looking at the snow-capped mountains, NZ Ski CEO Paul Anderson said Coronet Peak and the Remarkables had 12 inches of fresh powder, while Mt Hutt received 16 inches.
He was discouraged by the lockdown, but said it was necessary to make the call.
“The storm that just passed dropped the best snow we’ve had all season in the mountains and we’ve had a really solid period after school holidays. So we know a lot of people were prepared to travel and come visit Queenstown. , and Methven, “Anderson said.
“We are devastated, but we understand the risks with this Delta strain, we are going to do what we can to overcome it.”
Anderson was hopeful that a short, abrupt closure would suffice.
But he understood why the government was taking a cautious approach and blocking the South Island as well.
“The Delta strain has been shown to be very infectious. There are a lot of people traveling through New Zealand so there is a strong possibility that the strain has reached the South Island and with very low vaccination rates the only defense It is to go to a great confinement.
“So I think the answer is really there to get us going with the vaccination program and vaccinate all of us so that we can operate a little more normally even with Covid.”
IFly Queenstown owner Matt Wong awaited news of the closure
“Certainly for us, we will be suffering quite a bit for the next two weeks. We know that obviously blocked we will not have any exchanges. We still have overhead and want to support our staff,” Wong said.
“That is a priority for us at the moment as we make sure to take care of our people. It will have a flow in effect. We know Auckland will be blocked by seven others and that is a big part of our market.”
Wong was preparing for a tough job if visitors, Auckland residents in particular, were interrupted for weeks.
But he said the national shutdown was the right decision.
“Part of the reason is that Queenstown is a gateway, I suppose, to Auckland and many of New Zealand’s big cities and we have a somewhat transient population with people coming and going all the time.
“So there has been a lot of movement in the last week or two. And certainly with the school holidays we have had a lot of locals from Aucklanders and North Islanders coming to the South Island to capture it and make sure we do a good job with it and It doesn’t turn into some kind of NSW incident. It’s the right decision. “
On Reefton’s west coast, Dawson Hotel co-owner Helen McKenzie spent the morning tidying up the hotel and responding to cancellations.
“Most of them are just saying they’re just putting travel plans on hold until they know what’s going to happen. I don’t think any of us think this is only going to last three days.
“We will not go down to level one again, we will go to level two or three, and to three, we can’t open anyway and two is obviously a lot more work and a lot more cost to keep it going.”
The companies said they would be glued to daily Covid-19 updates, waiting for better news.
This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.
All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.
A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.
Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and SAVE LIVES.
All are asked to:
Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.
If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.
Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.
Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.
Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4.
For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]
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Kia Kaha – Stay strong