The decision to go ahead with a number of large events in central Auckland last night, despite news of a new case of Covid-19 in the community, has been criticised by an expert.
The Property Industry Awards were held at Spark Arena, and the IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards and Stolen Girlfriends Club fashion and music festival Stolen Superclub were held at Shed.
The events all went ahead after the Government's 5pm announcement in which workers in Auckland's CBD were asked to work from home today if possible. If people did have to go into the city they were advised to wear a mask on public transport and socially distance where possible.
Covid-19 expert Professor Shaun Hendy was critical of the decision to go ahead with events last night.
"I would have thought it would be prudent to have postponed or cancelled those events. Things are looking better this morning but last night we were facing a situation that was potentially quite alarming. We're still not out of the woods," he said.
But event organisers said the announcement at 5pm meant it was too late to cancel events and advice was they could proceed because there had been no alert level change.
Property Council New Zealand head of communications Kelly Taylor said the decision to go ahead with the event, for which 1500 tickets had been sold, was not taken lightly.
She said discussions were had about whether the event could go ahead but guests had already started to gather at the venue by the time the Government's announcement had finished.
"On that basis it was decided that it would be very difficult and possibly far too late to cancel as guests had already been in contact."
She said the organisation followed the New Zealand event sector voluntary code which meant every person had a named ticket to allow for contact tracing, asking attendees to sign in with the Covid-19 Contact Tracer app, offering temperature testing at the door and asking anyone who was unwell or had been in any of the locations of concern to stay home.
Taylor said 200 to 300 people headed that advice and elected not to attend the event, which had already been postponed twice because of Covid-19.
IAB New Zealand chief executive Gill Stewart pointed out the press conference was held less than an hour and a half before the awards started and the event followed the Government's guidelines.
All guests were issued with numbered tickets which were checked at the door and all names were taken, she said.
Stolen Girlfriends Club yesterday sent an email to those attending the event saying they had been in touch with the Ministry of Health and had been advised they could go ahead with the event because there had been no change in alert level.
They reminded anyone who had been at A-Z Collection Store or the Vincent St residences to isolate and get tested.
The tickets to the event, described as the "party of the year", came in the form of a face mask and guests were advised to wear them. People were also asked to scan in and use hand sanitiser.
Hendy acknowledged the news came late in the day and that there was no change to the alert level but said people had to get used to this and have a contingency plan.
He said the country was relying on people "using good judgement" and organisers should have taken into account the request that people work from home today if possible and applied the same principal.
"Even thought you do feel you're committed, you can cut the risk at that point by cancelling the event and sending people home," he said.
Hendy said even if genome sequencing identified the source of the latest case today, there was still a risk of secondary transmission so his advice was that people needed to look at their plans for the weekend and consider cancelling or postponing them.