Date: 24 March 2020
DOC is today moving to close all huts and campsites and asks no one uses these until further notice says DOC Director-General Lou Sanson.
"People should no longer stay at DOC huts and campsites as these are not suitable for use during alert levels 3 and 4. They should also avoid using facilities such as toilets as it will not be possible to service these facilities and hygiene will be compromised," says Lou Sanson.
"For everyone's safety, at alert level 4 we strongly recommend that people should not head into the backcountry or remote areas, and we recommend they don't undertake outdoor activities (such as adventure sports or hunting) that would expose them to higher levels of risk."
New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) is asking people to stick to simple outdoor exercise and avoid areas where they could get lost or require search and rescue. NZSAR want to ensure that emergency services are available to help those in the greatest need.
The Game Animal Council have also put out advice to hunters to “do the right thing and stay at home”, acknowledging that this comes during the roar.
This does not mean you are confined indoors says Lou Sanson.
"Time spent in nature feeds the soul, keeps us fit and calms the mind. We must all look after ourselves and loved ones during this time."
"It is ok and recommended you head outdoors in your family or self-isolating units. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, choose a quiet location close to home, keep a safe distance from others and follow all government guidance."
"While rangers won't be placing signs at, or checking every hut and campsite, we expect the public to do the right thing for their safety and the safety of others. The majority of DOC rangers will be self-isolating like the rest of us and need to focus on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those close to them," says Lou Sanson.
"However, DOC will be monitoring the situation over the coming days and weeks and may respond in specific situations, should safety issues arise in conservation areas."
Track updates, closures and safety advice are on our website.
If you want to speak to someone about your plans, contact the nearest visitor centre.