We understand and empathise with the uncertainty regarding COVID-19. The Dragon Boat Festival was lucky enough to take place unimpeded by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, and we are hoping for the same in 2021 with an approved plan (see below) to ensure you can paddle safely. If we are in Level 3 or 4 for the Festival weekend we will reschedule the Festival Race Days to a later date in the year. We are committed to delivering the Wellington Dragon Boat Festival in 2021.

We have been in close communication with local authorities including Wellington City Council, New Zealand Police, our local District Health Board/Public Health Unit, Greater Wellington Regional Council's Harbourmaster, and our Health & Safety contractors working alongside the Festival to ensure that paddler safety is a priority from the first training to the final race of the event. The Wellington Dragon Boat Festival will adhere strictly to Ministry of Health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, and are committed to going above and beyond to ensure our COVID-19 strategy follows best practice.

The most common question we are getting asked is "Will we be able to paddle if COVID-19 alert levels move from Level 1?". The answer to this is yes! We have outlined the 4 COVID-19 Alert Levels below, detailing what Dragon Boating in Wellington will look like at each level:

Alert Level 1: Dragon Boating occurs with no restrictions on training, or the Festival days. At Alert Level 1 we all need to be ready in case COVID-19 reappears in our community.
Alert Level 2: Dragon Boat training occurs with a few restrictions on training. We will have 5 boats out on the water at any 1 training session, with a maximum of 100 paddlers per training session. Trainings will have staggered start/finish times to ensure the crossover of session to session does not have more than 100 people at the Dragon Boat shed at any 1 time. For instance a regular 4pm training would run from 3:55pm to 4:55pm and the 5pm training would run from 5:05pm to 6:05pm. Full contact tracing will occur at all trainings. Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities will be provided at trainings. Boats and paddles will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each training by the Rescue Crew. Masks will be encouraged to be worn and will be provided to paddlers if needed. The Changing Shed will be shut to Paddlers and available for Sweeps and Crew only.
In Alert Level 2 the Festival will take place but without shared facilities on-site, these include the Village, Toilets, Showers, Food Vendors and General Admission Marquees. We would spread our festival site out across both Lower Frank Kitts and Upper Frank Kitts Park with teams confined to a specific Team Marquee with a maximum capacity of 100 persons. Each marquee would have it's own private toilet facility and handwashing facilities. Team loading would be separated to 4 different zones on the waterfront including the start line, the lagoon ramp, the Rowing Club steps, and the Pontoon by the lagoon bridge. Full contact tracing will occur at the festival. Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities will be provided at the festival. Boats and paddles will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each race by the Dragon Boat Festival Crew. Masks will be encouraged to be worn and will be provided to paddlers if needed.
Alert Level 3/4: Trainings and the Festival will be rescheduled to a future date under Alert Levels 1 or 2. No Dragon Boating will occur under Alert Levels 3 and/or 4.

Like the flu, COVID-19 is spread from person to person by droplets of saliva. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus. These droplets settle on surrounding surfaces. People may get infected by the virus if they touch those surface or objects, and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

That is why good hygiene practices, and regular cleaning are critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19. The Dragon Boat Festival has a plan to ensure good hygiene, cleaning equipment and shared facilities, to ensure the virus cannot be spread in our facility, at our trainings, or at our events. We will ensure we are protecting paddlers, and are minimising the risk of spread of infection of COVID-19. We will comply with the relevant Health and Safety requirements for COVID-19. This information can be found here. We will meet all Public Health Notices and guidelines. These include the following, although they may change over time:

- Regular disinfecting of surfaces and equipment, especially Life-Jackets, Paddles, Sweep Oars and Dragon Boats.
- Encouraging good hand hygiene by allowing frequent hand washing with soap and water before thoroughly drying them.
- Not having unwell people at Dragon Boating.
- Meeting physical distancing requirements.

Hand washing is the Dragon Boat Festival's preferred option for good hand hygiene. However, hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol) will be provided as an acceptable alternative, if there are not sufficient hand washing facilities on the waterfront.

The Dragon Boat Festival will communicate handwashing guidance to all paddlers, crew and visitors. The key message is that people need to wash their hands with soap and water and thoroughly dry them before and after paddling.
We will put up signs in shared facilities to remind people to wash their hands.
We will make sure bathrooms are always stocked with soap and paper towels.
We will provide hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol).

Other ways to keep our hands clean and prevent germs spreading include:
Encourage alternative greeting or end of paddling traditions (instead of hi-fives).
Where possible keep your entrance and exit doors to the Dragon Boat shed open.
Participants must also bring their own clean towel to dry off any sweat while being active.

Encourage Participants and Guests to leave the waterfront after they have completed their paddling and not spend extended time at the Dragon Boat Shed or Changing Rooms.

Spitting is an unhygienic practice and an offence under sections 3 & 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1981. We will ensure that paddlers do not spit on any surface or out of the Dragon Boats into the water.

Contact Tracing will occur at Dragon Boating using both the NZ COVID Tracer App and an option to sign in for paddlers who do not have the App. The Dragon Boat Festival will ensure that we keep an accurate record of paddlers/guest register (including Crew and Sweeps) that are participating in Dragon Boating. This allows for the Ministry of Health to undertake contact tracing if necessary.

Water is important to drink while Dragon Boating to ensure paddlers are properly hydrated. Paddlers should also use their own clearly labelled water bottles which should be thoroughly cleaned before and after each use.

Equipment sanitisation and safety is a priority for the Dragon Boat Festival. Paddlers must bring their own personal equipment (towels, water bottles, etc) and ideally a personal paddle if owned. We will implement sanitising practices suitable for all shared equipment used at Dragon Boating. For example, Life-Jackets, Paddles, Sweep Oars, and Dragon Boats. We will make sure shared equipment is cleaned before and after use with disinfectant, concentrating on points of contact.

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