Last Updated: 5/21/2010 10:14 a.m.
Travel restrictions could impact the American Cup next year but it is too early to determine the extent to which, the New Zealand government has warned.
With the New Zealand Team preparing to defend the trophy next March, the challenging teams are in the dark about when they can send parties forward to Auckland to begin their preparations.
While new infection rates have slowed in New Zealand, the borders remain closed to all except returning citizens and permanent residents, who must then be placed within the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Economy Development Minister Phil Twyford, who has responsibility for major events such as the American Cup, said there was still too much uncertainty to know when the borders could be reopened.
“At this stage it is difficult to know the extent to which COVID-19 will affect the 36th American Cup in Auckland, but there may be some impact,” Twyford said in a statement.
“The government is very motivated to see the 36th American Cup progress.
“However, important factors including restrictions on meetings, and all restrictions for borders both here and internationally must still be resolved.”
Two challenging syndicates have expressed concern about when restrictions might be lifted.
“We don’t know when we can come to New Zealand,” said INEOS England Team chief executive Sim Simmer.
“We need to throw a party ahead to set up bases and start things that are happening. The New Zealand government has been silent.”
There is also additional uncertainty caused by the cancellation of the heating regatta in the UK and Italy which has presented problems for the team and their testing program.
The head of the American Magic syndicate, Terry Hutchinson, said New Zealand Herald cancellation means the team must be in Auckland in July to prosecute their ship.
A series of warm-up competitions are scheduled to be held in Auckland before the regatta for the four challengers takes place in January-February.
The American Cup is scheduled to start on March 6 next year.
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