23 Jan 2022

Festivals, PM's wedding postponed as New Zealand moves to red light setting

4:26 pm on 23 January 2022

Summer festivals, events and the prime minister's wedding have had to be postponed or cancelled due to the country moving to the red traffic light setting from tonight.

Splore Festival runs for three days and "welcomes all friendly caring humans to join our Mindful Tribe of Party Animals for this glorious weekend."

Splore Festival 2022 has been cancelled. Photo: supplied

The move means there will be more mask wearing, and a cap of 100 people indoors in hospitality settings and events such as weddings, or 25 people if venues are not using vaccine passes.

It was announced this afternoon that Splore Festival 2022 has been cancelled.

A spokesperson said all ticket holders would be contacted by iTICKET and given the option to claim a refund or to keep their ticket for next year's festival.

"We're sad that we can't gather our vibrant Splore community and immerse in the best of Aotearoa's music, performance, and art in the extraordinary surroundings of Tāpapakanga Regional Park," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"However, we understand and support the government's decision to move to the red traffic light and minimising the risk for vulnerable New Zealanders."

The Others Way festival, due to be held on Auckland's Karangahape Rd on Saturday 29 January will no longer go ahead as planned, organisers announced on the festival's Facebook page.

The New Zealand Masters Games has also been cancelled.

The games were due to go ahead in Dunedin between 5 - 13 February, with thousands of competitors and supporters expected to attend.

Games manager Vicki Kestila said it was deeply disappointing, but the safety and wellbeing of participants, staff and volunteers was the top priority.

The games could only go ahead under orange or green restrictions due to the safety protocols required, she said.

All entry fees would be automatically refunded.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters she has put her wedding to long-time fiance Clarke Gayford on hold.

"Such is life," she said when asked how she felt.

"I'm no different to dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic - the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience."

The Restaurant Association says the red restrictions will place more limits on cafes, restaurants and bars.

Hospitality venues can still open at the red setting but vaccine certificates must be in force and no more than 100 people can be at a venue.

Chief executive Marisa Bidois said that would result in lower customer numbers across the sector.

She said the requirement that all patrons be seated at least one metre apart meant some businesses would be able to serve only a fraction of their typical customer numbers.

She said customers were already calling to cancel functions that involved food services due to uncertainty around Covid-19 transmission.

Air New Zealand's chief executive Greg Foran said the airline would continue to operate domestic services while under the red light system.

"Our priority has always been and continues to be, keeping our employees, customers and New Zealand safe," he said in a statement.

The great news is, you can continue to fly during the red setting and there are no regional borders in place. However, we do expect to see some impact to our operation."

There would likely be some schedule changes and cancellations in the coming weeks due to Covid-19, he said.

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