Whanganui event organisers, facility managers and businesses are working to manage their own and the public's wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Returned and Services Association (RSA) has cancelled any public Anzac Day events this year and is postponing its national Poppy Day appeal until further notice.

Organiser for RSA Whanganui's Anzac events, Kyle Dalton, said that the decision was "forseeable".

"Many of those that participate in the parades are getting on in age, and some are in rest homes are well.


"Whanganui is the home of the dawn parade, and we've had a parade every year since 1935, but it's simply not worth the risk, for our veterans especially.

"There's usually between 3000 and 4000 people at our local ANZAC Day parade, so there was just no way it could go ahead.

"The RSA members' health is paramount, and adding stress to them on what is already a very stressful time is not something worth doing."

Anzac Day: Big turnout at Whanganui dawn service
Whanganui volunteers put in the work for Anzac Day commemoration to come together
What's on in Whanganui this week? April 25 - May 1
Thousands attend Whanganui dawn service for Anzac Day

Whanganui River Markets trustee Annette Main said after taking advice from the Medical Officer of Health, who is responsible for public health protection in the region, the markets will go ahead this Saturday.

"The advice we received was that closing the market is not a necessary measure at this time."

Organisers took into account the outdoor, open air location which covers a larger area, meaning customers and vendors are not constrained together in a confined space. They noted that shopping centres, malls and supermarkets are able to continue trading.

Alzheimers Whanganui manager Wendy Paterson said all group outings, peer support groups and gatherings will be suspended for the next three weeks.


Paterson said the decision wasn't taken lightly. It is recommended that people who are more at risk, including anyone over the age of 65 and those living with dementia, take the steps recommended on the Ministry of Health website to protect themselves and others.

Paterson said keeping close with family, friends and workmates is imperative. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Splash Centre pool complex was closed from 8pm Thursday until further notice after the advice yesterday about cancelling gatherings of 100 or more people.

Whanganui District Council chief executive Kym Fell said the situation would be monitored and updates provided when information was available.

Splash Centre manager Dave Campbell said the decision had been made to protect the health of Splash Centre users and staff. More information would be available soon for people who had automatic payments for memberships or who had paid for a term of lessons for their children.

The Waimarie has experienced several cancellations. Photo / File
The Waimarie has experienced several cancellations. Photo / File

Coronavirus: What Whanganui's medical officer of health says about the outbreak
Whanganui farmer worries about drought, not coronavirus
Whanganui food delivery services boom in coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus: Knock-on effects hit Whanganui

Whanganui Riverboat Centre manager Phil Pollero said the Waimarie has had several postponements and cancellations which they assume are Covid-19 related.

Pollero said they are closely monitoring the situation and following all of the Ministry of Health advice. The crew has taken extra precautions around cleaning all surfaces and having hand sanitiser at all times, as well as information on how to increase hygiene awareness in the centre.

He said the financial repercussions have been minimal so far.

Caroline Norton, owner of Caroline's Boatshed, said despite having to cancel their outdoor concert on St Patrick's Day, the restaurant is committed to keeping its doors open.

Precautions are being taken, but it's business as usual at Caroline's Boatshed. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Precautions are being taken, but it's business as usual at Caroline's Boatshed. Photo / Lewis Gardner

"Our sole focus is to keep our staff and our customers safe.

"We have extra signage and hand wash, and it's really important to do everything we can to make our customers feel safe and still enjoy their experience.

"I'm sure everyone's in the same boat, and we have to be so aware of this threat."

Norton said the Covid-19 threat was a huge learning process for all sections of the Whanganui community.

Caroline's Boatshed has experienced a normal trading week thus far, and Norton said seeing the community still supporting local hospitality was "absolutely fantastic".

Sam Monaghan, of Monaghans Barbershop, said business has been slower over the last week.

Monaghan said they are taking the neccessary precautions to ensure safety for customers, and have systems in place if the situation develops.

"If we need to, we can do one-on-one appointments which will help limit the potential spread. It will also allow us to maintain a clean work area easier as we could clean throughly after each appointment."

What you need to know
What you need to know