Repco Beach Hop is in "serious jeopardy" if organisers cannot recover the money already spent, as Covid-19 forced a decision to postpone from March until 25-29 November.

Up to 100,000 hop goers were due to descend on the Coromandel for the five-day festival celebrating 50s and 60s culture from next week.

All has now been postponed until November, affecting towns like Waihi where the warm up party was scheduled for Wednesday March 25, Whitianga which hosts a Beach Party the following day, and providing Whangamatā retailers and emergency services groups with the biggest cash injection of the year.

Organiser Noddy Watts reiterated on Monday at his announcement that it will go ahead — but on 25-29 November 2020.

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Festival goers have been told to stay away from Whangamatā if they show any symptoms of Covid-19 or 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 Noddy.

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

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

The Government announcement on Saturday of a 14-day self-isolation period for travellers meant that 20 or more entertainers arriving from overseas would not be able to perform.

"As Repco Beach Hop 20 is a Rock'n'Roll festival, we couldn't continue without the entertainment."

Repco Beach Hop is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

"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.

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"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."
Thames-Coromandel District Council is alerting residents to advice from the Ministry of Health on keeping themselves and family safe from the virus and liaising with event organisers, many of whom have chosen to postpone or cancel.

"From a council perspective, our Pandemic Plan has been updated so staff are prepared and ready to adapt if we need to look at how public facing services are delivered," says Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie.

It is expected that the domestic tourism industry will be hit hard.

"From a domestic visitor perspective, we want people to remember the Coromandel is still a safe place for people in the country to come and visit," says Destination Coromandel Marketing Manager Hadley Dryden.

"We know that there will be people here in New Zealand who may have booked trips overseas that are now being cancelled, so why not come and have an amazing holiday experience instead here in your own backyard on the Coromandel?"

Residents' reaction to the Beach Hop announcement was mixed.

Tracie King was among those in town who disagreed with the decision to postpone.

"People and cars will still come.

"It will be unorganised chaos instead of organised chaos."

Others pointed to the town's elderly population and did not believe they should be put at risk from an influx of visitors.

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

Staff at Whangamatā Medical Centre had sent an urgent message on Friday last week for people with serious respiratory symptoms to continue to seek help that they need — by phone first — and is asking residents to put their names on a register.

"We ask that if any of our patients has any concerns regarding Coronavirus or think they may have been exposed to please call Healthline on 0800 354 5453 in the first instance. If they have any flu-like symptoms, please call Healthline, or the Medical Centre before coming into the clinic.

"In a mass outbreak we have few resources.

"We have limited ability to treat anybody with Covid-19 in Whangamatā. We would be assessing and transferring to secondary care services which would be quickly overwhelmed," says Dr Michael Miller, one of four doctors at the centre.

Practice manager Rebecca Townsend said elderly patients often had multiple chronic conditions and it was important that they still felt comfortable to seek treatment from their centre.

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

With Covid-19 the situation is changing all the time and the latest advice to event organisers and others is on the Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus.