New website provides clarity on personal outdoor recreation during COVID19 pandemic

A new interactive website has been developed in New Zealand's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC), in partnership with Water Safety NZ and Recreation Aotearoa, covid19outdoors.nz has the support of more than 30 national organisations.

MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says the organisation identified the need to provide activity specific guidance which was clear and consistent.

"Kiwis have proven during the Level 4 lockdown that we are united against COVID-19. As we move through the Alert Levels it's essential that we all know what is and isn't acceptable forms of personal outdoor recreation."

The website enables users to select their location and pick from a wide-ranging list of recreational activities. Users are then provided with clear guidance as to whether that particular activity is permitted and if there are anyrestrictions or important considerations.

Daisley says it was important to create a tool which allowed for the guidance to be tailored to different regions throughout the country. "If we find ourselves in the situation where different parts of the country are in different Alert Levels at the same time, we need to make sure that the information provided to people is relevant, consistent and accurate."

Daisley says the MSC felt it was vital to bring together as many organisations as possible in order to develop a site that covered a wide variety of personal outdoor recreation activities. "New Zealanders use the outdoors in such a varied way and the website needs to reflect that. If we want the public to adhere to official guidance, then we need to provide that information to them in the most user-friendly way."

Tracey Prince-Puketapu, Acting CEO of Recreation Aotearoa says the website is a valuable resource for all New Zealanders. "This website ensures that accurate information can be accessed easily in one place. It's a testament to the strong partnerships that exist in the recreation industry that we can come together and produce this resource to keep New Zealanders safe and active".

The website currently covers 61 different land and water-based personal outdoor activities ranging from taking a walk around the neighbourhood through to mountain biking, skiing, hunting, paddle boarding, surfing, cycling and camping.

Water Safety New Zealand CEO Jonty Mills says that it's ideal to have all activities in one central location "People don't want to have to look across several websites to find out what they can and can't do during this time. Being able to pull together each organisation's area of expertise will ensure Kiwis get the clearest and best information."

The activity specific content of the website has been developed by applying the Government's detailed Alert level framework to the context of each activity. Sport NZ provides Government policy guidance and teams from Mountain Safety Council and Water Safety NZ have worked with sector organisations to turn this into the activity specific guidance for the website.

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