6 September 2021

Covid-19 Update

All of New Zealand apart from Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 as at 11.59pm on Tuesday 7 September 2021.

Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 21 September. It will remain at Alert Level 4 until then. The Government will confirm this decision on Monday 20 September.

You can view latest COVID-19 updates here.

Our team will work to keep the Southland Business Chamber online resources up-to-date, as and when we get information relevant to business.

Click here to view latest information and support services.

Operating a business at Alert Level 2

As alert levels change, check out Business.govt.nz guidelines showing you how Alert Level rules apply to different business types.

Law Changes

Mandatory Face Masks / Coverings

You are encouraged to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distance from others.

You legally must wear a face covering when

  • Using public transport, airplanes (including in departure points such as train/bus stations) and in a taxi or ride-share vehicle
  • Visiting a healthcare or aged care facility
  • Inside retail businesses, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, shopping malls, indoor marketplaces, takeaway food stores, and public venues, such as museums and libraries
  • Visiting the public areas within courts and tribunals, local and central Government agencies, and social service providers with customer service counters.

Your employees must wear a face covering at work if they

  • Work in the public-facing area of a court, tribunal, local or central government agency or social service provider
  • Are a delivery driver to residential addresses — delivery drivers only need to wear a face covering when they are out of their vehicle
  • Work at a cafe, restaurant, bar, nightclub, soup kitchen or any other food or drink business
  • Work for a close contact service — for example, hairdressers or beauty therapists
  • Work at a retail store — including those that were operating at Alert Levels 3 and 4
  • Work at an indoor public facility — for example, a library, museum or a gym — employees working at a swimming pool do not need to wear a face covering.
  • Are a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses and ferries between the North Island and South Island.

Learn more about mandatory face masks here.

Requirement for Businesses to Ensure Scanning / Record Keeping

At midnight on Tuesday 7 September, it will become compulsory for many public-facing businesses to have a QR scanning or other record-keeping system for the use of every person entering their premises.

Business.govt.nz has guidance for businesses on contact tracing at your business, click here to view.

Get your NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster

Keep Track of Where You Have Been

Mandatory record keeping comes into effect from midnight 7 September. Everyone aged 12 and over legally must keep a record of where they have been when visiting certain places so contact tracing can happen quickly. You must do this at all Alert Levels.

Keep track of where you have been at all Alert Levels

Use the NZ COVID Tracer app if you can. This helps with rapid contact tracing if it is required.

Business Travel Across Alert Level Boundaries

Movement between Alert Level Boundaries will be restricted.

An Alert Level Boundary separates areas of New Zealand that are at different Alert Levels. Businesses need to provide their staff with proof of eligibility to travel across an Alert Level Boundary, such as the documentation generated by MBIE’s Business Travel Register. Previously issued Business Travel Documents are no longer valid.

In addition, from Wednesday 8 September, there will be weekly testing for essential workers who need to cross an Alert Level Boundary.

Click here to learn more.

Financial Support for Business

There’s a range of financial support you might be eligible to apply for as a result of the COVID-19 alert level rise, including

  • Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • Resurgence Support Payment
  • Short-Term Absence Payment
  • Leave Support Scheme.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) August 2021 #1 is available nationally when there is a regional or national move to Alert Levels 3 and 4 for a period of seven days and helps eligible businesses keep paying staff and protect jobs. 

The wage subsidy, which is available through the Ministry of Social Development, is for employers who expect a greater loss of 40 per cent of their revenue.

Wage subsidy rates have also been increased to reflect an increase in wage costs since the scheme was first used in March last year. They will now be $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee (20 hours a week or more), and $359 per week per part-time employee (less than 20 hours a week).

Apply for the subsidy here (closed at 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September)

The criteria for the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) August 2021 #2 includes

  • Businesses that applied for the initial Wage Subsidy payment can apply for the second Wage Subsidy, so long as you meet all the eligibility criteria. You can apply two weeks after your previous application. If you applied on 23 August, you can apply for the second Wage Subsidy on 6 September.
  • Businesses that didn’t apply for the initial Wage Subsidy can apply for the second Wage Subsidy from 3 September 2021, providing you meet all the eligibility criteria.
  • Businesses must demonstrate a 40% decline, or predicted decline in revenue for the period of 31 August to 13 September 2021, compared to a typical 14-day period over the last 6 weeks prior to lock down on the 17 August 2021. 
  • Payment is made as a two week lump sum at $600 a week for each full-time employee retained, and $359 a week for each part-time employee retained.
  • You must have consent from employees to submit their details
  • Applications are not able to be tracked once lodged but timeframes are expected to be up to 3 days (while MSD verify staff records to IRD records). 

Find out more here (available from 9am, Friday 3 September 2021)

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) helps to cover wages and fixed costs for businesses who have been directly affected when there is an increase to Alert Level 2 or higher for a week or more. 

To be eligible, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to an increase in Alert Levels.

  • You can receive $1,500 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (FTE), up to 50 FTE.
  • The maximum payment is $21,500.
  • If you’re a sole trader, you can receive a payment of up to $1,900.

Businesses anywhere in New Zealand can apply if they meet the eligibility criteria.

You can apply for both the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme if you meet all the eligible criteria.

A second round of the Resurgence Support Payment will open for applications on Friday 17 September 2021.

You can apply if you have already received a payment. The eligibility criteria has changed for newer businesses on 9 September 2021, for more information visit their website.

Apply for the subsidy here

The COVID-19 Leave Support Payment (LSS) is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home.

This means your workers

  • Can’t come into work because they are in one of the affected groups and have been told to self-isolate, and
  • Can’t work from home.

Apply for the LSS here

The Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

It’s to help businesses keep paying eligible workers who

  • Cannot work from home, and
  • Need to miss work to stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result (in line with public health guidance).

Apply for the STAP here

Juggling Privacy and Contact Tracing

The Privacy Commissioner has some guidance on how to protect people’s privacy when setting up a record keeping system of visitors to your business.

Click here to learn more.

Looking After Your Mental Wellbeing

Looking after your family, your team and your friends is important right now, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. We’ve got resources that can help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Take care

Got questions or need support? Call the free COVID-19 Business Helpline

All New Zealand businesses, including sole traders, can get support and advice on

  • Government financial support, eg Wage Subsidy Scheme, Resurgence Support Payment
  • What different alert levels mean for your business
  • Business continuity
  • Finding free or subsidised expert help, eg a business mentor or advisor.

Employers can also get specific advice on people challenges, including staffing changes, employee wellness, and meeting your health and safety obligations. North Island 0800 500 362 |  South Island 0800 50 50 96

Business.govt.nz also have a full list of the financial support available to businesses through the Government, and what is and isn’t accessible at various Alert Levels. Visit their website for full details.

Above information updated 1.30pm, 14 September 2021