Since the country moved to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework RED alert level (on 24th January), Bowls New Zealand has been continually assessing our ability to run the Summerset National Fours and Mixed Pairs Tournaments from the 24th February to the 3rd March 2022.
The decision we have reached today (Monday 14th February) is that:
- The Summerset National Fours and Mixed Pairs Tournaments have, reluctantly, been cancelled for 2022. We will be refunding all player entry fees for both events over the next ten days.
It was (until the weekend) our strong desire to run at least the Summerset National Fours this summer. We believed that the bowls community could safely run a National Tournament such as the Summerset National Fours, whereby the risk of contracting COVID-19 or becoming a close contact was within acceptable limits. However the number of positive COVID-19 cases over the last couple of days means the wider New Zealand community faces an increasing risk of contracting COVID-19 and/or becoming a close contact. The need to self-isolate (currently for ten days) if deemed a close contact or contracting COVID-19, makes running a national event a risk for all entrants. This is especially concerning for a bowler from the South Island, whereby any requirement to self-isolate will need to be completed away from home (in the North Island) and at the bowlers cost.
With over 700 bowlers visiting the Taranaki region, staying upwards of eight days, the Summerset Nationals was shaping as another wonderful event for the bowls community. We can assure you it was the desire of Bowls New Zealand to play the 2022 Summerset National Fours – an event that has been held for over 100 years. As late as Friday 11th February, we believed the risk to our bowls community was within acceptable limits. At a couple of hundred cases a day, we believed we could take the necessary steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and any requirement to self-isolate.
However with case numbers now touching 1000 per day, and there being another ten days until the start of the Summerset Nationals, we no longer believe the risk is manageable for all our entrants. A number of entrants have already withdrawn from the Summerset Nationals and we expect others would have followed suit over the coming days.
We appreciate this will disappoint a number of bowlers – it is another one of those COVID-19 bowls related decisions that was not easy.
Kia Kaha New Zealand.