All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 4
All of New Zealand, south of the Auckland boundary, will move to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, 31 August.
Rules for businesses under Alert Level 4
- Workplaces can only open if:
- they are an Alert Level 4 business or service, as defined and listed in schedule 2 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 (Order), or they are exempt from the Order.
- AND they are operating safely, in accordance with the Alert Level 4 requirements, set out in the Order.
Operating safely includes fulfilling all other health and safety obligations.
- This means that if an Alert Level 4 service cannot operate safely, workers must not go to work and premises should remain closed.
- All freight can be distributed and received with essential freight prioritised.
- Additionally, businesses that are able to operate are encouraged to put in place other measures, consistent with Health and Safety obligations, to prevent their activities contributing to the spread of COVID-19. For example, businesses that can operate are encouraged to have employees work from home wherever this is possible to provide the relevant business or service.
Unite against COVID-19 has further information on safely doing business at Alert Level 4.
Golden rules for business at Alert Level 3
- If your business requires close physical contact it cannot operate.
- We recommend your staff work from home if they can.
- Businesses need to display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system. We recommend making sure people either scan in or provide their contact details.
- Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a supermarket, dairy, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
- Your business legally must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up legally must also be contactless.
- Basic hygiene measures legally must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers legally must stay home if they are sick.
- Staff legally must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart at all times where practical. Other measures, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) including face coverings, we recommend being used where appropriate.
- Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff. You can get further advice from the Ministry of Health (external link).
- You legally must meet all other health and safety obligations.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
If your business cannot operate because of Alert Level 4 restrictions or you will lose revenue, you can apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy scheme to help keep paying your staff.
Businesses and self-employed people must expect a 40% drop in revenue to be eligible to receive the wage subsidy.
The wage subsidy is paid in a 2 week lump sum. You can get:
- $600 per week for each full-time employee
- $359 per week for each part-time employee
Businesses anywhere in New Zealand can apply for the Wage Subsidy Scheme if they are eligible.
Applications for the August 2021 Wage Subsidy opened on 20 August 2021 and will be open for 2 weeks. .
COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment
The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment 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.
Applications for the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment opened on 24 August 2021, and will remain open for one month after all of New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1.
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
If your employees have been told by a health official to self-isolate and they cannot work from home, you can can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for them. You can also apply if you are self-employed or a sole trader.
The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating.
The COVID-19 Leave Support is paid as a lump sum, calculated to cover 2 weeks. You can re-apply after this time if your employees still qualify.
If your employees work in health, disability or aged-care facilities or services and they have COVID-19 symptoms, you can tell them to self-isolate while they wait to get a test or they are waiting for their test results. They will still be eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.
Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
Organisations and small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme provides assistance to firms employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee and only one amount can be drawn down.
Loans will be interest-free if they’re paid back within 2 years. The interest rate will be 3% for a maximum term of 5 years. Repayments are not required for the first 2 years.
Applications are open until 31 December 2023.
Insolvency relief for businesses
The Companies Office offers relief for companies and other entities facing difficulties in complying with their statutory obligations, or obligations under their constitutions or rules, as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Business Debt Hibernation scheme allows businesses to place their existing debts on hold for up to 7 months to help them start trading normally again.
Information on how you can access the insolvency relief and the requirements that you’ll need to meet is available on the Companies Office website.
Apprenticeship Boost Initiative
Support will be available to employers of first and second year apprentices in a Tertiary Education Commission-approved New Zealand Apprenticeship or Managed Apprenticeship programme.
The amount that can be claimed will vary depending on when an apprentice started their training programme and when they reach 24 months. Employers can claim:
- $1,000 a month for eligible apprentices in the first 12 months of their training programme
- $500 a month in the second 12 months of their training programme.
Funding will be available until April 2022.
Employers are required to top up the funding they receive to ensure their apprentices receive at least the minimum or training wage they are legally entitled to.
The shift back to Alert Level 4 is a stressful time for business owners and employees. If you feel you’re not coping, it’s important to talk with a health professional.
There are helplines available that offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.