23 Oct 2020

Holiday hosts prepare health measures for busy Labour weekend

7:06 pm on 23 October 2020

Campgrounds and bars are hoping for a bumper long weekend while doing their best to heed the Covid-19 warnings.

Sunset View of Cooks Beach from Shakespeare Cliff Lookout at Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand.

Cooks Beach from Shakespeare Cliff Lookout at Coromandel Peninsula. Photo: 123RF

Many campgrounds in the Coromandel are reporting they are almost booked out as many people hit the road in search of some rest and relaxation.

It has been more than four months since the last public holiday, so this is a long weekend many would have been hanging out for.

Janey Housego is one of the managers at Seabreeze Holiday Park in Whenuakite on the Coromandel and said they were bracing themselves for a big weekend.

"We've definitely seen probably a rush to get out of town for the last 24 or 48 hours," said Janey Housego. "We've had a lot of inquires about camping. But all of our chalets and lodge accommodation is sold out, so really we're just pushing our powered and non-powered sites for camping. Which is great."

She said with a lack of international visitors they were delighted to be as busy this year as usual, this time with local guests.

The Dickson Holiday Park in Thames was also almost completely booked out.

Owner Cindy Wainwright said they would take extra measures to ensure they help to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

"Of course we've got the app that they can scan on the door; we disinfect the counter, the eftpos machine, the door handles, the telephone that they use, every time someone comes in to reception; and in the general areas we've had extra cleaning since Covid started and we'll just keep it up until its over, whenever that is."

Police have warned New Zealanders to stay safe on the roads.

Inspector Peter McKennie said police were expecting the highways to be particularly busy this weekend.

"What we'll find is we've got a lot of New Zealanders who will travel internally whereas previously they might have gone over to Australia or the Pacific Islands for a holiday during the break. And people have been restricted from taking a winter holiday overseas, so they'll invest in a holiday within New Zealand, so we'll see a lot more New Zealanders on the road."

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has urged businesses to do their bit over the weekend to ensure people have easy access to the Covid-19 QR code, particularly hospitality businesses.

Max Bremner runs several bars in Christchurch including the Bealey Ale House and Fat Eddies and said people had got slack about using the Covid app, but he had emphasised its importance to his staff.

"We've made a big effort right through the group [of bars] that right from, basically now, that everyone who comes in [scans the app]. It is very difficult in town late at night when you've got a thousand people charging around, but we are doing our best and we've really reinforced that and picked that up."

People heading out for a bite to eat on Monday may find that not all their usual spots are open.

In Wellington, Whistling Sisters general manager Graham Enright said they had chosen not to take the risk of opening on the public holiday this year.

"Because of obviously how the climate has been, we've made the decision to close on Monday just because things have been so tough financially," said Mr Enright.

"We just can't afford to be paying the time and a half and the extra labour and risk people not being in town."

Those heading out over the weekend would mostly be getting good weather, at least for the first part of it.

Lewis Ferris from MetService said the east of the South Island was in for some unusually warm weather, with Christchurch forecast to hit 28 degrees, but there was a heavy rain watch in place for the West Coast of the South Island for Sunday.

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