Courtenay Place to close to traffic this weekend for safety

20 May 2020

With bars and nightclubs reopening this weekend concerns that Courtenay Place may experience an influx of people this Friday and Saturday (22 and 23 May) has resulted in a decision to temporarily close the road to traffic for safety reasons.

The move will see Courtenay Place closed in both directions from Cambridge Terrace to Taranaki Street between 10pm and 4am to allow for physical distancing if needed.

Wellington hospitality industry representatives spoke with the Police and approached Wellington City Council, via Mayor Andy Foster and Economic Development Portfolio Leader Cr Diane Calvert, to request the closure due to concerns at the number of people possibly returning to the city’s reopened entertainment precinct for the first time since level 4 lockdown.

Mayor Foster says it’s important businesses are assisted to be able to operate safely. “When approached we were keen to support the hospitality sector, and the jobs they provide, while achieving our primary concern of ensuring public safety. We want to make sure physical distancing is maintained and that people aren’t putting themselves at risk stepping out into the street in order to achieve this.”

Matt McLaughlin, Wellington Branch President of Hospitality NZ, says Alert Level 2 requirements mean all bar patrons must be seated and the best way to ensure this is for people to book before they come so they can walk straight in and not have to queue.

“The capacity of bars is greatly reduced due to the Level 2 Guidelines and we are concerned for the safety of our patrons not only inside our venues but in the queue and on the street as well. Wait times to get into a bar will be quite different to what it is normally so we encourage you to get your group together and pre-book where possible,” says Matt.

“If you're not planning on coming into a hospitality venue we encourage you to stay at home.”

Wellington Police Inspector Wade Jennings says Police will maintain a visible presence throughout the Wellington CBD. “We are working in support of the hospitality venues to make sure everyone can safely enjoy themselves this weekend.”

During the Courtenay Place closure temporary bus stops will be located on:

• Cambridge Terrace – outside YHA Wellington Backpackers

• Wakefield Street – outside Reading Cinema car park

• Cable Street – car parks opposite New World

• Taranaki Street – near Lukes Lane.

Check Metlink for further details.

Temporary taxi stands will be located on:

• Taranaki Street between Wakefield Street and Courtenay Place

• Wakefield Street between Blair Street and Tory Street

• Cambridge Terrace.

Ride share companies can collect or drop off passengers anywhere along Cambridge Terrace, Wakefield, Taranaki and Tennyson streets (or other surrounding streets). No-parking signage and traffic cones will be displayed 48 hours prior to the closure.

The road closure will be in place this coming weekend and then reassessed.