The Department of Conservation (DOC) on Monday moved to close all huts and campsites, and asked that no one use these until further notice.
“People should no longer stay at DOC huts and campsites as these are not suitable for use during alert levels three and four. They should also avoid using facilities such as toilets as it will not be possible to service these facilities and hygiene will be compromised,” said DOC director-general Lou Sanson.
“For everyone’s safety, at alert level four, people should not head into the backcountry or remote areas, nor should they undertake outdoor activities (such as adventure sports or hunting) that would expose them to higher levels of risk. Normal search and rescue operations will not be running, hut wardens will not be in place, communications may be limited and we do not want to place unnecessary strain on health services.”
The Game Animal Council have also put out advice to hunters to “do the right thing and stay at home”, acknowledging that this comes during the roar.
Sanson advises this does not mean you are confined indoors.
“Time spent in nature feeds the soul, keeps us fit and calms the mind. We must all look after ourselves and loved ones during this time.”
“It is okay and recommended you head outdoors in your family or self-isolating units. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, choose a quiet location close to home, keep a safe distance from others and follow all government guidance.
“While rangers won’t be placing signs at, or checking every hut and campsite, we expect the public to do the right thing for their safety and the safety of others. The majority of DOC rangers will be self-isolating like the rest of us and need to focus on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those close to them,” said Sanson.
“However, DOC will be monitoring the situation over the coming days and weeks and may respond in specific situations, should safety issues arise in conservation areas.”
Visit DOC’s website for information including track updates, closures and safety advice: www.doc.govt.nz