Sunday, August 14, 2022

Fieldays still on despite Omicron uncertainty

Organisers are forging ahead with plans to hold a physical Fieldays in June, despite the uncertainty hanging around event management with Omicron.

While the pandemic forced the cancellation of other North Island field days events in Northland and Manawatū, Fieldays organisers remain optimistic Mystery Creek will go ahead as planned.

Organisers are forging ahead with plans to hold a physical Fieldays in June, despite the uncertainty hanging around event management with Omicron.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of other North Island field days events in Northland and Manawatū, but Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation is optimistic it will go ahead as planned on June 15-18 at Mystery Creek.

“The demand and planning is well-advanced, but the complexity now is – and we haven’t made this decision – what will Fieldays look like for June or some other date?” Nation asked.

That decision is still a work in progress.

“It’s a complex situation and we are planning for a physical event,” he said.

Nation said the Fieldays Society board met bi-monthly and the issue was regularly discussed.

He was thankful that the Government has revised and extended its event transition support payment scheme, meaning Fieldays will now be covered in June. The scheme was introduced to give event organisers certainty when organising large scale events.

That extension gave the event industry certainty, he said.

The announcement of phase two of Omicron means no change to planning because the Waikato region is still in the red light setting.

Under that setting, events have a limit of 100 people and Fieldays could not be held. If settings move to orange, it can.

Another challenge is ensuring the ticket holders are vaccinated when they enter Mystery Creek. Everyone has to be verified when coming through the gate and staff are working on a system where vaccine passes are checked when tickets are bought and scanned on entry.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty sitting in front of us, both for the event itself and the planning of the event,” he said.

“We are trying to work within the framework we have been given and we’re trying to think about what June or some other date might look like.”

What will be critical is that if Omicron cases hit a spike in March as modelling suggests, and whether it will then fall and revert to normal, he said.

Site construction and planning by site holders and the time it took for them to be able to do that was also being factored in.

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