Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) is dealing with events on a case-by-case basis, as a number of other national sport organisations suspend community sport.

To date, BBNZ has cancelled or suspended a number of national events and travel plans for teams, while the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. The 3×3 National Secondary Schools event has been suspended as have a number of junior age-grade camps, as well as suspending all their national teams’ activities in cooperation with FIBA.

During the Prime Minister’s press conference on Monday (16 March), it was made clear that gatherings of 500 or more were to be cancelled. The Prime Minister also stated that further prescriptive guidance around public gatherings would be issued, most likely this week. Sport New Zealand also reinforced in a communication to sports today, that there is no necessity to cancel events below 500 people, however guidelines for smaller gatherings are expected to be available shortly.

Basketball New Zealand is awaiting this guidance, while also closely monitoring the expert advice from the Ministry of Health, the Government and talking with other advisors such as Sport New Zealand about the COVID-19 situation that is unfolding.

“With the situation constantly evolving, we are monitoring the advice from experts every hour. Currently we are not asking our Associations to cease community basketball, although it remains their choice.

“The Government’s prescriptive guidance on mass gatherings and events should be released any day now, which will help inform organisations that run community-based activities.

“We have cancelled some projects that have larger gatherings, but we are not at the point where we expect smaller localised basketball to be suspended. There is always the possibility we will reach that point and we are prepared to act if required,” says Mr Potter.

Basketball New Zealand has been sending out MoH hygiene advice and recommended practices to its community regularly. Mr Potter says BBNZ is also taking into account that many community facilities and organisations are still open, like schools, clubs and bars.

“Our Associations are running small community competitions, these do not attract large crowds, so the continuation of community basketball is well within current Government expectations,” says Potter.

“The concern for many is to do the wrong thing and allow the virus to spread. We want to reassure people that Basketball New Zealand is taking this situation very seriously. For example, BBNZ required self-isolation of all overseas NBL players, which was put in place 24 hours before the Government’s requirement – so we are trying our best to be proactive while also being practical.

“The discussion of suspending community sport events is not one we are taking likely. Of course, the health and wellbeing of our community is our priority, while also operating in this environment as best we can, and within the expert guidance of higher authorities like the Government and Ministry of Health,” says Mr Potter.