Lowering attendee numbers or switching to virtual events are how Rotorua event organisers are getting by under a Covid-19 red traffic light setting.
While many events have been cancelled or postponed, others are still planned to go ahead but with limited guests under the new red-light rules. Organisers of one event that has already been postponed three times have decided to move it completely online.
At red, there can be up to 100 people in a defined space at the venue at any time, based on one-metre physical distancing, as long as checking of My Vaccine Pass is done. If not, this number goes down to 25.
The popular Whaka 100 mountain bike event was expected to attract thousands of people to the city this weekend but was cancelled due to the red setting.
The NZ Māori Basketball Aotearoa 2022 national tournament, Music at Band Rotunda Sunday events in February and March, the RATS Blue Lake Multi-sport Festival and the Waitangi - For the Love of the People event have also been cancelled.
Rotorua A&P Association decided in December to host today's show with reduced numbers.
Only those entered in events and a support person are allowed in the showground over the three-day event.
Association president Heather Brake said they were lucky the showgrounds were so spread out.
"If we were all in the one area, we would not have been able to have it."
She acknowledged a lot of other events were not able to do that: "Some of them don't have that chance".
Anyone without a wristband or the vaccine pass would be removed, she said, and there would be spot checks throughout the event.
Competitors were to be placed in groups of less than 100 to adhere to Covid-19 requirements.
"Everyone has their own toilet spaces, it's all worked out that they've got their designated areas."
The association had hosted other events at the site before so knew how to make it work, she said.
"There have been some competitors that have been apprehensive. It's their choice to come or not come. If they do, that's great, if they don't, that's their choice."
She expected money would be lost through this year's event.
"Until we get down to the final things next week we won't know ... We more than likely will [lose money] this year."
The Rotorua Chamber of Commerce's annual business awards have been postponed three times before moving to a virtual event option.
Chief executive Bryce Heard said February 4 was the last attempt.
Heard said although it had been "manic" trying to make the event virtual for about 800 ticket holders, finalists, sponsors and support people, it was "absolutely" worth it.
It had committed "enormous expense" to the event "in the face of enormous uncertainty", he said.
"The rules have changed on us three times and we've had to cancel the event three times."
He said they would make the best of it as they could: "people love this competition".
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said Omicron and its high transmissibility had changed the game again, and the red setting was the best defence against the virus.
"Events are a high-risk setting where Omicron can spread quickly and far ... Without vaccine passes, events cannot go ahead."
He recognised the events sector was facing a challenging time but said measures needed to be in place to minimise the impact of the virus.
He said event funding support was in place.
There were seven new Covid-19 cases in the Lakes District Health Board area yesterday. These have not been listed as Omicron cases.
All seven were contacts of previously reported cases and were isolating at home or in managed accommodation.
There were 105 cases in New Zealand with four in hospital, including one in ICU or HDU in Rotorua Hospital.