Covid cuts off Beach Hop ... again
Covid has shunted New Zealand’s biggest classic car festival back for a second time, leaving Coromandel businesses facing the quiet season before welcoming its crowds.
The Repco Beach Hop, which usually runs each March, won’t happen until November because the event can’t operate under the traffic light system.
Beach Hop president Noddy Watts said the board tried to find ways to adapt to the new restrictions, but found it was ‘‘just impossible’’ to go ahead with a free public event in Covid times.
The event usually brings more than $10 million into the local economy and Destination Coromandel marketing manager Megan Nunn said the move will come as a blow – but hopefully that loss will be made up in November.
‘‘It’s frustrating that we’ve had to do this,’’ Watts said, ‘‘but under the traffic light framework – even in green – we wouldn’t be able to safely hold Repco Beach Hop 2022, because we can’t restrict access in a public place’’.
Under the orange or green traffic light system there are no limits on events where aMy Vaccine Pass is required for people to attend. If the My Vaccine Pass cannot be used, restrictions apply.
Watts said it would be impossible to control numbers and separate the vaccinated and unvaccinated at the festival because it’s free, and held along the main streets of in Whangamatā, Waihī and Thames.
‘‘The Government has given no indication of how long the traffic light system might be in place, and we were uncertain if by March things would have changed.
‘‘Postponing the event for another eight months will hopefully mean by then vaccination rates will be up, and the traffic light system will be gone.’’
This is the second time the event has been postponed due to Covid-19.
In 2020, Beach Hop, had to move from March to November because of the first lockdown.
Destination Coromandel marketing manager Megan Nunn hopes the financial strain will be short-lived.
‘‘There’s no doubt that losing Beach Hop in March is a big blow to the district, but we’ve got to look at it positively that at least for now we are able to postpone it and not cancel it.’’
The hope is that businesses can make up what they’d usually get from festival crowds in March when it’s held in November – at the other end of the district’s shoulder season.
Waikato’s Soundsplash festival also had to adapt to meet the traffic light system.
The festival, which sees thousands of young people flock to the west coast between January 21 and 23, has moved to Mystery Creek after five years in Raglan.
The new 114-hectare site will allow the three-day festival to have space for distancing and check-in processes.