Trampers are being asked to stick close to home while the level 4 Covid-19 alert is in place.
The plea coincides with the closure of all DOC huts and campsites.
DOC director-general Lou Sanson said people should also avoid DOC facilities – such as toilets – while the alert is in place, as they will not be serviced.
“For everyone’s safety, at alert level 4 people should not head into the backcountry or remote areas, nor should they undertake outdoor activities such as adventure sports or hunting that would expose them to higher levels of risk,” Sanson said.
“Normal search and rescue operations will not be running, hut wardens will not be in place, communications may be limited and we do not want to place unnecessary strain on health services.”
Short walks in family groups or self-isolating units, however, are encouraged for exercise purposes.
“Time spent in nature feeds the soul, keeps us fit and calms the mind. We must all look after ourselves and loved ones during this time,” Sanson said.
“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, choose a quiet location close to home, keep a safe distance from others and follow all government guidance.”
Fish & Game New Zealand has issued a similar plea to hunters and anglers.
“Unfortunately, being at Level 4 means that anglers and hunters aren’t able to do the pursuits that they love,” chief executive Martin Taylor said. “The point of the next four weeks is to kill the virus in New Zealand so that life goes back to normal as quickly as possible. Let’s stay home for four weeks then we can get outdoors and back into angling and hunting.”
MSC chief executive Mike Daisley said “it’s about choosing the appropriate level of recreation, maintaining some sense of physical activity for health and wellbeing benefits, but not tackling those longer challenging day trips and certainly nothing that requires an overnight stay.”
The MSC advised people to stick to their local area, walk or run to the local park, go for a short walk in a local bush reserve, or ride at the local bike track, all the while adhering to safe distance rules.