COVID-19 postpones 36th America’s Cup
Published on February 27th, 2021
Auckland, New Zealand (February 28, 2021) – In light of the latest Auckland COVID-19 Level 3 lockdown put in place by the Government from 6:00 am this morning for the next seven days, the America’s Cup organizers – America’s Cup Event Ltd (ACE) – have postponed the first weekend of racing on March 6 and 7.
New Zealand has a 4-level COVID-19 Alert System with each Alert Level defining what measures are taken. When the alert level shifted from 1 to 3 during the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series, it postponed racing until it shifted down to level 2.
The latest shift to level 3 requires people to stay home and closes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, and markets. This decision was due to the discovery of a 21-year-old male who had visited multiple locations while infectious.
The purpose of this early decision by ACE is to provide at least some certainty in planning for all event stakeholders, particularly as it is not known if the government will extend the lockdown.
“ACE has always said that it wishes to hold as much of the racing under Level 1 restrictions as possible,” said Tina Symmans, ACE Chair. “But to be prudent, ACE will apply for an exemption to race under Level 3 restrictions so as to keep as many options open as possible. However, racing will not occur before at least March 10.”
Teams had previously been able to train at level 3 during the Prada Cup postponement, and it was believed racing could occur as well. However, there was push back then by ACE as it impacted local commerce.
If there was racing during level 3, the America’s Cup Village would be closed to fans and the race course would likely be moved far offshore to limit large spectator gatherings on land. It is also likely local businesses would gain less benefit from race fans during level 3.
The 36th America’s Cup Match racing schedule was planned for March 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15. If racing can get underway on March 10, the postponement will likely seek to move race days into the previously open dates.
“We need to understand all likely scenarios so that an updated racing schedule can be put in place whilst also ensuring the regulatory requirements are met,” concluded Symmans.
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