Wellington – The American Cup final between Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa at Auckland’s Waitemata Port was postponed on Sunday as the coronavirus outbreak put the city back in lockdown.
The first four races in the best-of-13 game are scheduled for next weekend but “won’t happen before at least Wednesday, March 10,” said America’s Cup Events chairman Tina Symmans.
“We need to understand all possible scenarios so that an updated race schedule can be put in place while also ensuring regulatory requirements are met.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered a seven-day, level three lockdown in Auckland starting at 6 a.m. Sunday after a 21-year-old man visited a gym and other public areas after testing positive for the strain of the virus in Britain.
This is the 13th COVID-19 case in the community since the latest cluster emerged two weeks ago which left Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city with a population of 1.7 million, on lockdown for three days.
Below level three, residents must stay at home except for shopping and essential work, while sports are prohibited.
However, Symmans said America’s Cup organizers would apply for an exemption from starting races if the lockdown continued for longer than expected.
Outside of Auckland, all of New Zealand has been placed in second tier, which limits spectators and excludes spectators – forcing some sports to reset their schedules.
Next Friday’s Twenty20 cricket match between New Zealand and Australia has been moved from Auckland to Wellington where it will be played in an empty stadium.
In rugby, the Auckland Blues have decided not to go home after Aotearoa’s 31-16 Super Rugby win over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
Although they get a bye next week, coach Leon MacDonald said if they returned to Auckland they would not be allowed to train under the strict level-three rules.
Next weekend’s Super Rugby match between the Waikato Chiefs and Otago Highlanders and the Canterbury Crusaders and Hurricanes is likely to be played behind closed doors.
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