There was reason to celebrate for Kiwi’s (and hope for Aussies too) yesterday with the positive news that New Zealand’s ski resorts will open for the 2020 season under the country’s latest Level 2 restrictions.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday that Level 2 will see the return of retail shopping, eating out, weddings, domestic travel, schools, sport, and catching up with friends again in person – but under strict new rules.
However, when quizzed about how the updated mass gathering restrictions (limited to 100 people) would work with ski fields, Ardern said for “open-air” spaces like golf courses or places with many “players” there would “obviously be a different set of circumstances”.
It is now hoped that the green light for New Zealand’s ski fields will be detailed as part of PM Ardern’s next update on Monday, May 11, though it is expected to be mid to late week with 48 hours notice before the level officially changes to Level 2.
Described as a safer version of normal, admittedly, it is all still a little blurry with PM Ardern saying Domestic travel will be permitted but is not encouraged for “spurious reasons or for unsafe behaviour.”
“It’s what you do when you get there that’s the problem. A trip from Wellington to Napier to see your mum is fine. A trip from Wellington to Napier to go to a big conference with an open bar is not fine,” Ardern said.
“What we can do now is work with Government officials to understand the details of level 2 for the ski industry and revise plans over the coming days.”
National Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said the easing of the rules to allow inter-regional travel at Level 2 would go a long way to restarting tourism in the South Island.
“Businesses have been crying out for some certainty in the travel space, and today’s announcement gives them some clarity. For areas like Fiordland and Queenstown in the south, it is truly a game-changer for the local economies.”
“If we can get the ski fields up and running this winter it will make a huge difference to the Queenstown economy … We have had a number of days now without any cases, and if we have a sustained period with no cases, it is pretty clear it should be safe for the ski fields to get some sort of allowance under level 2.” Walker said.
What does this mean for the season ahead and can we go too? Please?
- On the basis of more detail to be released on Monday 11 by PM Ardern and with social distancing rules applied, the Level 2 restrictions mean that New Zealanders will be able to fly again domestically around both the North and South Island.
- That makes getting to the ski resorts easier and means most ski fields will be able to open to at least 50% of capacity given there will initially not be any international visitors allowed.
- The New Zealand ski season traditionally opens on the Queen’s birthday long weekend in New Zealand and this year was scheduled to open for most resorts in early June including Mt. Hutt (5 June), The Remarkables and Wanaka (6 June), Coronet Peak (13 June), Treble Cone (27 June) in the South Island
- Whakapapa (13 June – 26 October) and Turoa (27 June – 18 October) in the North Island.
If the much-discussed trans-Tasman bubble momentum continues to build and we do get to see flights taking off from Australia in August or September to New Zealand, there’s still an outside chance we could be enjoying some of the snow too before the season end.
Imagine that? Here’s hoping.
Find out more: www.nzski.com
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