Following the Government announcement that the Auckland region is going into an Alert Level 3 from midday on Wednesday August 12 until midnight Friday and that the rest of New Zealand will go into an Alert Level 2, this, unfortunately means a return to paddling restrictions.
Alert Level 3 – For the Auckland Region
For those who reside in the wider Auckland region paddling is allowed, provided we paddle alone, or with the person/people with whom you are isolating. Short trips by car to exercise will also be allowed, provided we don’t travel too far from home. It is important to emphasise that all club paddling activity will not be allowed at an Alert Level 3.
If you do paddle at Level 3, you must keep your boat at home and transport it to and from the water, rather than leaving it at a public facility – accessing your club storage would require you to touch surfaces such as door handles, which risks exposing yourself or others to infection.
We also note that training alone, whilst ensuring that you won’t spread Covid-19, presents other safety challenges – ordinarily it isn’t recommended that people practice watersports alone. We recommend usual good safety practice during this time:
•If you are isolated with another person, go paddling with them, or take them to the beach/lake/river so they can keep an eye on you!
•Stay close to shore – we recommend that you don’t go any further than you can comfortably swim, taking into account current, wind, temperature and the clothes you are wearing;
• If you go to the water alone, always tell someone where you’re going and what time you plan to return;
• Take a phone, personal flotation device and, where relevant.
Alert Level 2 – For the rest of New Zealand outside of Auckland
A reminder for what paddling looks like at an alert level 2 equipment such as a flare, EPIRB and whistle. If you are paddling a Individual Paddlers
At a Level 2 it is acceptable to meet your mates and paddle in groups, and it will also be possible to travel to another region (outside of Auckland).
It is, however, important to consider what conditions you are capable of paddling in. Emergency services will be working, but it’s best not to have to call on them. We encourage all paddlers to take appropriate safety precautions such as:
- • Always paddle with a buddy if possible;
- • If you go to the water alone, always tell someone where you’re going and what time you plan to return;
- • Take a phone, personal flotation device and, where relevant, other safety equipment such as a flare, EPIRB and whistle. Maritime NZ recommends 2 forms of communication at all times, and a lifejacket is a legal requirement at all times for paddlers whose boats are less than 6m long;
- • If you are paddling a kayak, an air bag or other floatation device in your boat is a good idea.
The official government information is published on the Covid-19 website. There is also specific guidance available from Worksafe New Zealand and Sport New Zealand.
Some of the most important things to consider are:
- Everyone should meet social distancing requirements of 1m if you know the person and 2m if you don’t. If in doubt, spread out.
- Team boat paddling is possible, as is coaching, but it’s important to consider all of the other rules and guidelines, and to be extra careful to minimise physical contact or droplet transfer eg coughing, sneezing etc;
- • Good hygiene practices are still important, including:
- Regular washing and drying of hands, good cough/sneeze etiquette and avoiding touching your face;
- Disinfecting surfaces before and after use, including boats, and having regular cleaning procedures for objects used regularly like door handles;
- Implementing several soap/sanitiser stations around your premises (eg entrance, boat park, changing rooms, food and water distributions stations and all gathering rooms and stations) and encouraging members to bring their own to keep costs down;
- Washing shared equipment, like life jackets, after every use;
- Careful transfer of food and water during training and racing to avoid cross-contamination;
- Appropriate number of waste bins with lids for discarded tissues
- It is critical to have a good system of contact tracing for everyone who visits the club, which includes having one person responsible for holding this information
- People who display flu-like symptoms (or whose close contacts are unwell) must self-isolate.
It is important to have good signage in and around clubs that outline key messages, indicating how often bathroom facilities have been cleaned and how many people are allowed in a bathroom at any one time. If you have a jetty, everyone needs to understand their responsibilities and good health and safety plans need to be in place and visible
As well as the above measures, please be respectful of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, like heart and respiratory conditions, who need additional care. In practice, this may mean that these people are discouraged from coming to the club at Level 2, or that club members are extra conscious of maintaining physical distance to avoid any risk of transmitting infection.