Major Coromandel event Repco Beach Hop is being postponed until November 25-29 because of coronavirus.

Organiser Noddy Watts has also urged hop-goers to stay away from Whangamata if they show any symptoms of Covid-19 or have arrived recently from overseas.

"First and foremost we treasure the town we live in and want to protect the people that live here and not put them at risk," said Watts.

"We plan to roll everything over to these new dates including the prize vehicles, Ford Kiwi Rock n Roll Legends concert and all events," he said.

Advertisement

The decision was taken after evaluating "what was best for our community" and was based on government advice to guide the decision making process.

The Government announcement on Saturday of a 14-day self-isolation period for travellers reinforced the decision, with more than 20 people coming from overseas to perform in various bands.

Repco Beach Hop is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is a major boost for the Coromandel economy with 100,000 festivalgoers bringing a cash injection before the quieter winter months.

Warm-up parties were scheduled for next week with Waihī on Wednesday, Whitianga on Thursday, Onemana on Friday.

The headline event was planned for Whangamata that weekend, where roads are closed for hours as hundreds of classic cars parade then line up amid live bands and rock and roll dance displays.

This year an open-air Legends of Rock n Roll concert was planned for Wednesday night at Williamson Park in Whangamata and with 2000 ticket holders this would attract one of the largest crowds of the event.

Repco Beach Hop organiser Noddy Watts has announced the event will be postponed. Photo / Alison Smith
Repco Beach Hop organiser Noddy Watts has announced the event will be postponed. Photo / Alison Smith

Watts said the event is at risk if they could not recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested.

For those still well and coming to Whangamata, there would be merchandise sales at Whangamata Club.

Advertisement

"We appreciate the damaging effect on the economy both national and local and feel for the businesses that rely on the festival to survive. No doubt they've invested heavily in the event and we hope they will recover from this unforeseen hit.

"We are in exactly the same situation as we've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and long hours into Repco Beach Hop 20.

"If we can't recover this then the future of the event is in serious jeopardy."

Repco Beach Hop Central will remain open at the Whangamata Club from March 25 where those who are in town are welcome to purchase merchandise and collect their pre-arranged entry packs.

There were 1300 comments on the official Repco Beach Hop Facebook page and many in the town were mixed about whether the event should go ahead or be postponed.

Whangamata, Tairua and Pauanui have a high population of elderly, with a median age of 51.2 years compared to 38 years for the whole of New Zealand.

Whangamata Medical Centre had said prior to the announcement that it had "grave concerns" about the upcoming influx of visitors to the town.

"We have grave concerns about 100,000 people coming into our community and the chance of someone bringing it in is very high."