COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights):

The COVID-19 Protection Framework has replaced the Alert Level system. It provides more flexibility for businesses as New Zealand manages COVID-19 in the community. Traffic light settings are now in place for all of Aotearoa. Everyone can access basic needs services, like supermarkets, pharmacies and healthcare. New Zealand is now at Red and Orange settings. The traffic lights (COVID-19 Protection Framework) protect Aotearoa New Zealand from COVID-19, while allowing people with My Vaccine Pass more freedoms. Taranaki Chamber, Unite Against Covid, and business.govt.nz have provided the following information:

 

Traffic Light System:

Map: Find out what traffic light settings are in place around New Zealand here.

What it means for your business: business.govt.nz has provided further information on how this will impact your business. The COVID-19 Resource Toolkit also has resources and signage you can easily download and use depending on what level of the COVID-19 Protection Framework your business is in.

The Traffic Light Stages: The Framework will continue to protect New Zealanders, while also providing more certainty and new opportunities. It minimises the impact and provides protection from COVID-19 through three settings – Green, Orange and Red.

 

Red

Orange

Green

Red will be used if there’s a need to protect both at-risk people and our health system from an unsustainable number of hospitalisations.

Face coverings will be required in some places including on flights, public transport, in taxis, retail, public facilities, and encouraged elsewhere.
Orange will be used when there’s increasing community transmission of COVID-19.

Face coverings will be required in some places including on flights, public transport, in taxis, retail, public facilities, and encouraged elsewhere.
Green will be used when there are some COVID-19 cases in the community.

Face coverings will be required on flights.

 

For more detail about life under the different traffic light conditions, head here: life at red, life at orange, and life at green.

 

Vaccination assessment tool

If your business or workplace isn’t covered by a government mandate for COVID-19 vaccination, you can choose to do a risk assessment to see if you can require work to be carried out by vaccinated workers, on health and safety grounds.

 
FactorLower riskHigher risk
Does the worker work in an indoor space that is less than 100m2?NoYes
Is it unreasonable for the worker to maintain 1 metre physical distancing from other people?NoYes
Is the worker in close proximity to any other person for more than 15 minutes?NoYes
Does the worker provide services to people who are vulnerable to COVID-19?NoYes

 

The vaccination assessment tool consists of four factors. You will need to answer ‘yes’ to at least three factors before it would be reasonable to require vaccination for workers who carry out that work.

When applying the tool to a particular role or job, you need to think about all of the tasks involved in that role, including those that aren’t performed on a daily basis.

If a worker doesn’t want to be vaccinated, but the tool indicates it is reasonable to require vaccination for their work, or part of their role, then you must comply with your employment law obligations, eg act in good faith and consider any reasonable alternative employment arrangements or redeployment, or other measures that may minimise risk.

For more information, head to business.govt.nz

 

Super Saturday COVID-19 vaccination data

A huge number of people across the country went out on Super Saturday and got their COVID-19 vaccination.
85% of New Zealanders have now had their first dose, up 2% on Super Saturday. 65% of the population are fully vaccinated, up 3% on Super Saturday. For more information, head to COVID-19 Super Saturday Update

 

Updated Recommendations for Gap Between Vaccine Doses

The standard gap between doses is now 3 weeks or more. In August the standard gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine was extended from 3 to 6 weeks. This allowed for a larger number of people to receive one dose (partial protection) faster. A shorter time between the 2 doses is recommended in some cases — for example, when people are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, or have a specific clinical treatment plan. Since then, the Delta outbreak has increased the risk of contracting COVID-19 for everyone in New Zealand, no matter where you are in the country. Because of this increased risk, it is now advised that all New Zealanders consider a shorter gap of 3 weeks between their 2 doses, instead of the standard 6 weeks. Reducing this gap means more people can be fully vaccinated sooner, increasing our community immunity. The minimum gap between doses will continue to be 21 days.

 

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy 

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 was available from 9am on 18 August 2021 to 11:59pm on 9 December 2021. It was to help employers and self-employed people keep paying staff and protect jobs impacted by the alert level changes from 17 August 2021.

There is also the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment available. Not sure which COVID-19 payment you can apply for? Use the online tool to check: https://www.connected.govt.nz/find-covid-19-support/

 

Financial support for business

Ministry of Social Development’s Wage Support Scheme is now open, you can apply here, and the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment is also available. Note you cannot get more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time. Inland Revenue’s Resurgence Support Payment will be open from Tuesday 24 August.

 

The following information has been provided by Inland Revenue

 

Money to keep your business running: If your business had low income in October and November because of the COVID Alert Levels, you could get up to 4 payments from the Government. Same if you are self-employed. Your income will need to be at least 30% lower than it was in a normal week before the Alert Levels changed. Each payment is for a different amount, but for example, if your income was low in a week between 3 October and 9 November, you could get up to $4,000 plus $400 per employee. You could get all 4 payments, and they are not loans – you do not need to pay them back. These payments are called the Resurgence Support Payments and the Transition Payment. Find out more at ird.govt.nz/rsp

Money to pay employees who have to stay home and cannot work: If your employees have to stay home and cannot work because they are waiting on test results for COVID or have to self-isolate, you can get a payment to help you keep paying them. These are called the Short-Term Absence Payment and the Leave Support Scheme. Find out more at workandincome.govt.nz

Low or no-interest loan: If your income was 30% lower in a fortnight than it was the year before, you might be able to get a Small Business Cashflow Loan from the Government. This could be for up to $10,000 plus $1,800 per employee. You have 5 years to pay it off, and you do not have to pay any interest if you pay if off in 2 years.
Find out more at ird.govt.nz/sbcs

More time to pay your tax: If you do not have the cash to pay your tax on time because of COVID, you can pay it off over time. This is called an instalment arrangement, and you can set it up in your myIR account at ird.govt.nz or by calling Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774. You should also tick the box in myIR saying your business has been affected by COVID