Nelson City Council cancels events to slow COVID-19 spread20/03/2020 8:33am
Nelson City Council is cancelling Council-organised events and reviewing Council-owned facilities to minimise the risk COVID-19 poses to the community.
Following the rapidly evolving advice from the Ministry of Health on social gatherings, Nelson City Council has made the decision to cancel next month’s Heritage Festival.
The festival is made up of events primarily organised by community organisations and individuals. This year, 76 events were to take place under the Heritage Festival banner over the month of April.
Community Services Chair Matt Lawrey says Council is disappointed to cancel the festival, particularly because of the amount of work a lot of talented and committed people had already put into the programme.
However, under the circumstances, it is the right call.
“All these decisions are being made in an effort to slow the virus down, to flatten the curve, so we have the best chance of avoiding the impact that is being felt in other parts of the world.
“The fact the Heritage Festival would have drawn an older, more vulnerable crowd, has also been part of this decision.
“My personal hope is that, when we get through this, we’ll be able to bring back some of what was planned for this year and make next year’s Heritage Festival the best yet.”
Jazz on the Green, held on Sundays between January and April at Founders Park, has also been cancelled.
All organisations holding events are encouraged to follow advice issued by the Ministry of Health and make risk assessments before deciding whether to proceed.
Council has also begun reviewing its other facilities, particularly those staffed by volunteers, using the Ministry’s guidelines.
To that end, Council has made the difficult decision to close Isel House to reduce the risk to both volunteers and the wider community.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Council expects to make more announcements regarding closures and cancellations in the coming days.