Lifestyle

Covid-19: Waiheke Island continues to close borders to visitors


The Waiheke Local Board decided to continue to close their doors to visitors until the new traffic light framework is in place.

On Wednesday, the local board decided not to advocate for lifting the ban on visitors into the island.

That means, Aucklanders will not be able to travel to Waiheke Island for day trips, exercise, and recreation until the traffic light framework is in place.

When Auckland moved to level 3 step 2 allowing travel across the city for exercise and recreation, Waiheke Island and Aotea/Great Barrier Island decided to close their doors, to prevent the spread of the virus under public health orders.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: Waiheke businesses want visitor ban lifted
* Covid-19: Waiheke sees second positive case confirmed, no locations of interest
* Covid-19: Waiheke and Great Barrier Island closed to visitors at level 3

The Waiheke Local Board has decided to wait till the traffic light framework is in place for the island to open to visitors.

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

The Waiheke Local Board has decided to wait till the traffic light framework is in place for the island to open to visitors.

Chairperson Cath Handley said the ban has helped the island in lifting the vaccination rates, with Waiheke reaching 90 per cent fully vaccinated on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the local board agreed once the country moves to the traffic light framework, that visitors who arrive on the island must either be fully vaccinated, or have received a negative test three days prior.

However, Waiheke businesses said the ongoing ban on visitors has been “catastrophically damaging” and want it removed.

The Waiheke Local Board met on Wednesday evening to discuss the request from the island’s business community to remove the public health orders.

In a letter from the island’s business community to the local board, they said Waiheke Island relies on visitors.

“The local economy alone is not sizeable enough to support the large number of businesses on the island,” Christina Hyde, chair of Waiheke Island Tourism Inc (WITI) wrote to the local board.

During the meeting, Hyde said businesses have been through a “real pain” due to the ban on day trippers.

Business owner Catherine Vosper said that two thirds of the Waiheke Restaurant Association customer base is from the Auckland city.

She said the ban has been “distressing” for many business owners.

David Gunson who spoke on behalf of Waiheke vineyards said “there is no coming back” from the ban on visitors.

The Waiheke Local Board have agreed that the clause regarding the ban to be removed when the country heads into the traffic light framework. (File photo)

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

The Waiheke Local Board have agreed that the clause regarding the ban to be removed when the country heads into the traffic light framework. (File photo)

However, a number of residents have said that they wish for the local board to wait for November 29 for the Government’s national decision to ensure the safety of the vulnerable community such as the elderly and under 12’s.

Angela Means, a resident and business owner said the virus was here for the “long run” and that the community should begin to look at surviving within their means.



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