Waiheke Walking Festival. Photo credit Rainer Lehr

Walking Festival organisers say that their decision to ditch this year’s event because of the uncertainty around Covid alert levels was made “with heavy hearts”. 

The call came on Tuesday morning following the Government’s announcement on Monday that Waiheke – as part of the Auckland region – would stay at level 3.

Waiheke Walking Trust chair, Tess Shaw said the decision was not made lightly, “but the health and safety of our volunteers and walking participants is our absolute priority”.

“And while the step-down approach to restrictions is focused on allowing a return to outdoor activities, it’s easy to forget that the Festival is more than ‘walking outside’. It’s bringing people together who don’t know each other to connect – while walking outside. And it’s this aspect of joining multiple bubbles that is tricky in the current environment.”

Although the 2020 festival managed to run while the country was in alert level 1, planning for the 2021 event has been plagued by varying levels and uncertainty.•

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