The lockdown began at midnight last night (25 March), with everyone in New Zealand required to self-isolate at home for four weeks The intent of this lockdown is to stop COVID-19 in its tracks by severely limiting any social contact that could spread the virus in New Zealand.
The Government’s guidance
states that it ok for people to venture outside to get some fresh air, so long as this is done close to home and people remain two metres away from anybody they are not self isolating with at all times.
With this in mind, Te Araroa Trust is asking people to walk only on sections of the trail in their local area and to avoid walking on any sections that would require a car to access. Some sections of the trail travel through or skirt urban centres such as Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Queenstown and Invercargill, and these remain accessible at this point.
Longer day walks into the backcountry and overnight walks must not be undertaken during the isolation period. DOC has closed all toilets and staying at a DOC hut, lodge of campsite during the isolation period is prohibited. Longer trips, including those that utilise shared accommodation, would increase the amount of contact between walkers and diminish nationwide attempts to prevent the spread of the virus.
This latest advice is based on consultation with Government agencies and other outdoor organisations and we urge everyone to follow it. By supporting the four-week shutdown period, we give the isolation period the best possible chance to make a difference.
General guidance for Te Araroa walkers during the COVID-19 self-isolation period:
- Stay at home as much as possible during the isolation period.
- Shorter day walks on uncrowded local sections of the trail are possible but these should be limited and done only with people you are isolating with (maintain two metre distance from other walkers at all times).
- Walk only in your immediate local area – avoid any tracks that would require a vehicle to get to and do not travel to other regions to access tracks.
- Do not walk if you are unwell.
- Do not embark on longer day walks into the backcountry or overnight walks.
Please take Care
Mark Weatherall – Chief Executive Te Araroa Trust