Covid-19: Earthquake concert livestreamed due to alert leve l2 restrictions

Up to 10,000 young participants and their supporters have missed out on this year’s Christchurch Weet-bix Kids TRYathlon​ event after the Government’s announced changes to the country’s Covid-19 alert levels.

The event was among several to be cancelled in the city after New Zealand moved back to alert level 2 and Auckland moved back to level 3 at 6am on Sunday. The alert level changes would be in place for seven days and came after new community cases of coronavirus were discovered in Auckland.

The public were told to stay away from Ōtautahi Christchurch, a concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, on Sunday.

The concert, featuring Bic Runga and Hayley Westenra, was instead livestreamed on YouTube from 2pm.

“Please don’t come to the Botanic Gardens for it – the area where the concert was going to be will be cordoned off, and we won’t be allowing people in,’’ Christchurch City Council Covid-19 incident management team leader Mary Richardson said on Sunday morning.

The Hagley Park Polo and the Farewell to the Godwits had also been cancelled.

The Christchurch Motorway Half Marathon and the Cycling New Zealand Mountain Bike Championships did still go ahead, but under alert level 2 restrictions.

“I strongly advise people who were planning on attending events around the city … to check in with event organisers to see if it is still on,’’ Richardson.

All of the Christchurch City Council’s public facilities would remain open under level 2, but visitors would need to sign in, either manually or with the NZ Covid-19 tracer app, and visitor numbers would be managed to ensure physical distancing, she said.

TRYathalon organisers were disappointed but happy to comply with the Government’s level change announcement on Saturday night, spokeswoman Jane Grayson said.

Within 45 minutes of the announcement, a cancellation text was sent to 3200 young participants.

Just one family turned up for the event at Jellie Park on Sunday morning.

Grayson said the family had packed up their car and gone to bed early in preparation for the early morning start.

“They have gone to another park, and they are doing a triathlon on their own.”

Grayson said organisers had not yet made a decision about another TRYathalon planned for Dunedin next Sunday.

Five of the 18 TRYathalons planned around the country this year had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 alert level changes.

Grayson said participants would be emailed details about how to receive a refund, and there would be an option for a DIY tryathalon they could do on their own.

The Court Theatre would stay open as it already had plans to operate under alert level 2.

The auditorium was divided into two zones catering to 100 people each. Each zone had its own entrance and exit, bar and toilets.

There were also safety protection screens to prevent the spread of the virus and contingencies to keep patrons 1 metre apart.

Meanwhile, organisers of Christchurch’s Armageddon Expo next weekend said the event would not be able to go ahead due to the level changes.

“We will be posting firm details on the event plans on Monday … and will follow with a livesteam Q and A session.”

They hoped to reschedule the event, but said it would not happen in March or April.

Refunds would be arranged for ticket holders, or they could be used for the rescheduled event.

Organisers of the Selwyn Sounds music festival, featuring Stan Walker and Hello Sailor, were yet to say if the event would go ahead as planned in Lincoln on Saturday.

“We are currently working with our incredibly talented artists, all officials, authorities and taking advice from relevant agencies over the next few days and will determine any action required for Selwyn Sounds 2021,” a statement on the event’s website said.

Christchurch Holi-Festival of Colours would not go ahead at all this year.

Organisers said people would still be able to purchase colours from Maia Foods at 320 Cashel St, so they could celebrate with close friends and family instead.

“We would like to thank people of Christchurch for their support in making Holi an event where all our extended communities come together and celebrate as one. Next year’s Holi will be bigger, brighter and more colourful,” they said.

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