Saturday, December 4

Christchurch faces an uncertain weekend as Covid-19 cases continue

Christchurch residents are on edge as they head into the weekend with four cases of Covid-19 in the community.

The Orchard Road Test Center after a positive Covid-19 case was announced in Christchurch.

The Orchard Road Test Center in Christchurch
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

This afternoon two more cases were confirmed, cases that, according to the Ministry of Health, were expected.

There are four cases in Christchurch and 13 isolated close contacts, one of them linked to an elementary school in Spreydon.

Uncertainty hangs over the city: Cars are still arriving in large numbers at test stations and more than 3,000 swabs were taken yesterday.

Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leeann Watson said everyone was nervous and cancellations were coming.

“There is too much uncertainty and the risks around financial risks and repetitive risks for many of these types of situations are too high,” he says.

“So it makes it very, very difficult to plan ahead.

“What that means is that people don’t make reservations for Christmas functions, they don’t make reservations for dining out.”

She said the retailers were following the rules perfectly, because they knew what another quick lock would mean for them.

“If we can keep increasing our vaccination rates, and we don’t see a widespread situation, hopefully we can stay at alert level 2,” he said.

“We know that any escalation in those alert levels has a significant impact on our business community and our community as a whole, not just financially, but mentally as well.

“This is a really challenging time for people, and the uncertainty just creates more anxiety for everyone.”

Several places of interest have been identified and closed for a deep clean, including Ken’s Takeaways in Bishopdale.

One of the original cases was there on Wednesday night, while waiting for the test result.

Lion Brewery’s Hornby warehouse is in a similar situation after one of the cases, a trucker, delivered bulk goods there.

A spokesperson said the warehouse, which was managed by MOVE Logistics & Warehousing, will reopen next Monday.

“The truck driver is not an employee of MOVE or Lion. He has not been delivering to Lion customers, stores or locations.

“MOVE is following official guidelines with the site closed for deep cleaning and the staff is being tested.”

The city’s central bus station was added to the sights this afternoon.

The region is now just a 90 percent step away from having received its first dose of Pfizer, with second doses at 71 percent.

And with less than two weeks to go before Addington Cup and Show week starts, racetrack manager Darrin Williams has his fingers crossed, nothing else changes.

The track already had to close its famous Cup and Show week to the crowds this year, and the 20,000 spectators it can attract will have to watch the races on the big screen.

“As for the weather, for next Tuesday, a week away, things get very busy and it is very uncomfortable trying to change,” he said.

“But we could change if we had to. As long as we don’t go to level 4, we will be running.”

He said there were plans to hold the event under level 3 restrictions if that happened.

And one result of the Fashion in the Field movement online is that it has been a welcome distraction for some Auckland residents, even in Tier 3 conditions.

“Some of them go to great lengths with some of the things they post online,” he said.

“I saw one online yesterday with someone who actually had a horse, a real horse, with a fascinator and it looked like it was professionally filmed by a cameraman.

“We are very happy with the comments received and we hope that this day we will also be with the gambling club.”

Cantabrians are heading into the weekend in hopes that the case count does not increase, and level 2 is the highest possible.

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