12 May 2020

DOC to reopen all facilities but Covid-19 rules still apply

5:17 pm on 12 May 2020

The Department of Conservation will open up its facilities as the country moves into Covid-19 alert level 2.

Moonlight Tops Hut on the new Paparoa track

DOC's Moonlight Tops Hut on the new Paparoa track. Photo: DoC

The government announced yesterday New Zealand would be in alert level 2 from Thursday.

DOC said that meant all of its facilities, including huts and campsites, would reopen for public use.

Its director of heritage and visitors Steve Taylor said accommodation bookings were capped at 10 people, and warned there should not be any more than 10 people at any of its non-bookable huts.

"This is a very positive development and will come as a relief to the thousands of New Zealanders who have wanted to get into the great outdoors," he said.

Physical distancing would also be required, and visitors should bring tents to be certain, along with cleaning equipment.

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"It's important under alert level 2 that visitors take responsibility for their own health and hygiene. We all need to look out for each other to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"DOC will undertake our normal checks of facilities, which does include some cleaning, however, we are asking visitors to be prepared to clean surfaces before they use them and leave the facilities fit for other users."

Visitors are also responsible for being able to trace their own contacts during their visit. This includes letting a trusted contact know your intentions and putting your details in hut intentions books.

DOC's bookable accommodation system will be open from 10am Thursday.

Hunting is also able to resume on public conservation land. Recreational hunters will be able to apply online for a hunting permit from 5pm tonight.

Concessionaires and community groups were welcomed back to public conservation land provided they can operate safely and follow Ministry of Health guidelines, the department said.

Tourism concessionaires would need an updated WorkSafe plan to respond to Covid-19, and community groups would also need to update their health and safety plans.

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