A new interactive website has been developed to provide New Zealanders with clarity on which outdoor recreational activities are allowed under each alert level of the COVID-19 response.
The website, covid19outdoors.nz, is designed to give New Zealanders "clear and consistent" activity-specific guidance under different alert level protocol, says New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) chief executive Mike Daisley.
"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," Daisley said in a statement on Tuesday.
The website allows users to select their location and pick from an extensive list of recreational activities. The user is then given clear guidance as to whether their chosen activity is allowed, including any restrictions or important considerations.
The resource currently covers 61 different land and water-based personal outdoor activities, ranging from neighbourhood walks to mountain biking, skiing, hunting, paddle boarding, surfing, cycling and camping.
To cater to the possibility of different locations being under different alert levels due to potential clusters or future outbreaks, the tool is tailored to different regions.
"If we find ourselves in the situation where different parts of the country are at different alert levels, we need to make sure that the information provided to people is relevant, consistent and accurate," he said.
"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."
Acting CEO of Recreation Aotearoa, Tracey Prince-Puketapu, says the resource is imperative in keeping New Zealanders both active and safe throughout the pandemic.
"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," Prince-Puketapu said in a statement.
The resource's guidance has been developed by applying the Government's alert level framework to the context of each of the outdoor activities. Sport NZ provides Government policy guidance, while teams from MSC and Water Safety NZ have worked with sector organisations to develop the advice for each outdoor hobby or pastime.
The tool, developed by MSC in partnership with Water Safety NZ and Recreation Aotearoa, has been backed by more than 30 national organisations.