On Thursday (14th May) NZ will move into Level 2 Pandemic Alert. Whilst some lucky paddlers were able to get a whitewater fix during the Level 3 Alert over the past couple of weeks, for most of us the shift to Level 2 is likely to be our first chance to get back out on the water.
There is still a risk of community transmission of the virus, which means that we can’t simply go back to paddling as usual. So, please don’t rush into this, play it safe and follow these guidelines for whitewater paddling during the Level 2 Alert:
- Transmission of the virus is most likely whilst travelling in a vehicle, so plan this carefully. Here are some things you can do to reduce the transmission risk while driving shuttles and driving to / from a river trip:
- Drive to and from the river by yourself or create an expanded “shuttle bubble”, and stick to this grouping whilst driving (and on the river, if possible)
- Drive with windows open
- Use good personal hygiene whilst sharing a car
- Stay well within your skill level to reduce the likelihood of needing emergency services.
- Paddle in small groups and try to keep your group exclusive
- Keep a record of who you paddle with
- Use physical distancing wherever possible, particularly at the put-in and take-out, where other people may be present
- Avoid touching each other’s gear, and if this is not possible, disinfect or use hand sanitiser as quickly as possible
- Overnight trips are OK as long as 1m physical distancing is maintained
- If you are sick, have any respiratory, cold or flu-like symptoms, do not go paddling
Advice for clubs:
Small public gatherings are allowed at Level 2, so club activities can take place. However, please follow the rules above and create a documented safety plan including the following points:
- Use Sport New Zealand’s Touch Free Contact Register to record all group participants in club actuivities
- Participants should have no respiratory symptoms and should have had no contact with others with respiratory symptoms in the two weeks prior to the trip
- Four days after the trip, the Trip Leader should check with all trip participants for any respiratory symptoms and notify everybody on the trip if symptoms are observed.
- Disinfect any shared equipment in the same way as you would to prevent the spread of Didymo
Please be mindful that for many of us, we’ve not been out on the water for a while, so we may be out of practice. That means taking extra precautions around rescue provisions and general river safety.
Use your common sense – don’t rush into this, play it safe and be kind!