7 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Bluff restaurant director was hesitant to hold wedding

1:58 pm on 7 April 2020

A Bluff restaurant director says he was hesitant to host the wedding that's now linked to one of New Zealand's biggest Covid-19 clusters.

Sixty-two people linked to a wedding reception, held at the Oyster Cove restaurant and bar on 21 March, have so far tested positive for Covid-19.

The government announced the country would enter a nationwide lockdown two days after the event, which about 80 people, including restaurant staff, attended.

Restaurant's director Ross Jackson said they took precautions in case someone present had the virus.

"We were aware of what was going on, we stepped up our sanitising, we had santising stations at the two entrances into the restaurant where all of the guests were asked to sanitise their hands.

"We were constantly santising all of the surfaces that were being used...we said to staff, where possible create a bit of distance between yourself and the guests. I think we took all of the practical precautions we could've, given the information we had at the time," Jackson said.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

He said at the time, going ahead with the wedding seemed like the right thing to do, but, "in hindsight, if we knew then what we know now, we probably wouldn't have done it."

Jackson was hesitant to host the event, but at the time events with fewer than 100 people in attendance could still go ahead.

"It would've been a pretty hard call just to ring someone up and say the day before you're wedding, 'look we don't want to go ahead with this'. We were cautious, that's why we took the extra precations at the time in case there was someone there with the virus."

The couple held their wedding reception at the restaurant and bar, which Jackson described as a "nice" and "orderly affair", but had a more relaxed get together the next day at another location, he said.

Wedding guests travelled from across the country, including from Invercargill, Wellington and Wairarapa, he said.

Jackson said all of his staff had been tested negative for Covid-19.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs