As I write this the Prime Minister has just been announcing the new traffic light system which will come into play once the country hits the 90% vaccination threshold. It is exciting to think that this system offers us the chance to work, socialise, play, and re-connect with people whilst living with Covid in the population.
For about 18 months we have generally been pretty lucky in New Zealand in terms of going about our lives, and for orienteering, whilst there has been disruption, we have also more often than not been free to continue with the sport we love. That is until Delta came along, and this latest lockdown that came into effect in August has highlighted that we can no longer eliminate Covid from our community. These latest restrictions have been tough, and I would especially like to acknowledge our Auckland, and more recently Waikato and Northland members, who have carried the greatest burden. We know it has been hard on you, and in simple terms we miss you! A sentiment very much expressed by the Tuaraki/Northern Regional Champs organising team when we recently met to postpone the champs to February.
So it is great to see light at the end of the tunnel, and from what I am hearing it will be a very different reality from the one we have had for the past 20 months where elimination was the name of the game. It is clear that fundamental to the new reality will be the reliance on vaccines to enable people to participate in day to day life. For orienteering this will have quite an impact on how we organise and run events. The details will need to be worked through in the coming days and weeks, and ONZ will revise the guidelines as the new traffic light system is properly understood. However what is clear is that there will be greater freedoms for those who are vaccinated.
So the simple message this month is get vaccinated! Good on those of you who are well underway with getting your vaccinations – the more people that get on board, the quicker our freedoms will come. And for those of you who haven’t been vaccinated yet, if you want to enjoy the freedoms of attending orienteering events going forwards, we urge you get onto it now. Oceania is coming up in two months time, and it will be a fantastic summer carnival of orienteering to enjoy – I am hopeful that disruption is looking less likely, especially as vaccination rates keep progressing, so here’s hoping!
Big thanks to all the people involved in adapting and running events in recent weeks, and kia kaha to all of you in lockdown – we hope to see you soon!
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