New Zealand ski areas are back on Level 2 restrictions after the handful of new COVID-19 cases in Auckland provoked a rapid response from the government.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which operates the two big North Island areas of Turoa and Whakapapa, announced they will stay open but with limited numbers again.
RAL CEO Jono Dean says, “It’s extremely important that we all do our part to follow the Level 2 guidelines so everyone can enjoy the ski areas safely. Visitors know what is expected to keep themselves and those around them safe and we ask that people accept a certain amount of self-responsibility to achieve this.”
Mt Ruapehu’s new bookable parking system will also operate 7 days a week and remain in place throughout Level 2 restrictions.
“This new system will come to the fore in this situation by helping us proactively managing visitor numbers, which will be restricted for safety reasons during Level 2,” Jono says.
Down south – where, it must be said, there have been NO new cases at all – Cardrona and Treble Cone closed Wednesday so staff could implement necessary Level 2 procedures to re-open Thursday.
Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt did the same, The Remarkables is closed midweeks anyway, while smaller commercial areas Ohau and Porters managed to stay open applying Level 2 restrictions to their limited number of guests.
It’s a shame for Kiwi skiers and boarders who had been enjoying unrestricted access with no number limits on the fields or the lifts since early July.
But it’s pretty academic for Aussies. The chances of a ‘Trans-Tasman Bubble’ for quarantine free flights happening before the end of the ski season are zero now.
After the renewed COVID-19 wave in Victoria, plus the steady stream of new cases in NSW, there was no way the Ardern government would agree to the proposed flights. Australia’s Minister for the Pacific (yes, you knew that too right?) Alex Hawke has said it’s still going to happen in a press briefing today, but we would wait till Jacinda Ardern actually says it’s go before believing it is going to happen.
They shut Auckland back down on Level 3 with just 8 cases, now grown to 20-something, and put the rest of the country back on Level 2. With more cases in Tokoroa, Waikato (south of Auckland en-route to Ruapehu for skiers) it seems likely restrictions will be extended from their initial deadline of today.
Roll on 2021..