Rally New Zealand say they are prepared to adapt its health and safety guidelines for the City of Auckland Rally and Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge should the city be bumped into Covid-19 alert level 2 today.
Yesterday, a confirmed community case in the Auckland CBD triggered widespread concern that the city will once again be subject to a shift in alert levels, placing strict limits on mass gathering sizes.
The last time a community case was discovered in Auckland in August, the Government immediately implemented alert level 3 restrictions in the city. The rest of the country was shifted to alert level 2 to be safe.
Auckland then remained at alert level 3 for just under a month before transitioning into level 2.
“We don’t have enough information at this point to make judgement calls on alert levels. As soon as we have that information, of course, we will share it,” said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins at an impromptu press conference yesterday.
“Our immediate response to any case of COVID-19 is to gather as much information as possible about the case’s movements and the likely source of infection. That’s the process that we’re engaged with at the moment.”
This weekend’s City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jack’s Ridge is set to host a sell-out crowd with several big motorsport names confirmed for the event.
However, should Auckland be moved to alert level 2, then the event will have to adhere to reduced mass gathering sizes. Anything higher will almost certainly call for the event to be run without the presence of fans.
“Following [yesterday’s] announcement, at this stage and given we are currently at Alert Level 1, we are still planning to deliver the City of Auckland Rally and Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge in line with the Government’s health and safety guidelines,” read a statement by Rally New Zealand Chairman, Peter Johnston.
“However, Rally New Zealand and the Event Organising committee will continue to assess developments and adapt to any change in alert levels.”
The Battle of Jack’s Ridge will use the purpose-built power stage that was set to host a stage of the World Rally Championship in September. Yet that event was cancelled amid the global pandemic, leading to the planning of the City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jacks Ridge.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden says Cabinet will make a decision about Auckland’s alert level today based on genome-sequencing of yesterday’s confirmed case.