Advice

COVID-19

Here’s what you need to know


The information on this webpage reflects the best information we have in a rapidly changing situation, we will continue to update it as we get more information (last updated 24 January 2021, 9.45pm).

All of New Zealand = LEVEL 1
Who can open?
No restrictions.
Can employees come to work?
A community case of COVID-19 has been detected in Northland, and the patient visited a number of retail and hospitality outlets. If you or staff were present in these locations at the time the positive case visited, they should stay home and call Healthline for advice on testing.

Otherwise, employees are able to come to work – unless they have symptoms of COVID-19 (inwhich case, they should stay home and call Healthline for advice).
Contact tracing
You must display an official QR code.
Social distancing
No formal requirements.
Face Masks
Everyone must wear a face covering on public transport in Auckland and on all flights nationwide.
Social groups and public venues
No limit.
Public health requirements
No formal requirements, but we recommend that you encourage:
– frequent handwashing,
– use of hand sanitiser,
– regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces,
– ask people with cold or flu like symptoms to stay away from your premises.

If you need advice, please get in touch with our Advice Service on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or email us on [email protected].

Find the latest Government information about COVID-19 here.


Frequently asked questions

Under the Health & Safety Work Act 2015 you are required to provide your employees, contractors and customers with the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, so far as reasonably practicable. This included following all public health guidelines.

The latest guidance from Worksafe on meeting the Health and Safety requirements for Level 2 is and 3 is available here.

Most businesses will have developed a COVID-19 safety plan when we moved out of lock down in May, and though not mandatory, it is a good idea to have another look at this document and update it if required. A plan template is available to download here.

If a staff member does not want to come into work because of Coronavirus have a discussion with them around the current situation, what you are doing to protect your staff, the current Ministry of Health recommendations, and whether you require them to work. You may be able to reach an agreement. If you need help, get in touch with our Advice Service on 0800 472 472 or email [email protected].

The Government’s Leave Support Scheme is available for employers to pay their employees who can’t work under the following circumstances:

  • They are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, and Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home while public health restrictions are in place
  • They have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines)
  • They have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to remain off work until they’ve been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation, or
  • They have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health recommends the employee also remains at home to reduce the risk to them.

If your employee is accessing COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, you are not required to use their leave entitlements to top up their income. However, you are able to offer and negotiate with your employee if they would like to use any form of paid leave.

Example: Your employee earns $1,000 a week before tax and is required to self-isolate. They are entitled to $585 a week from the Government’s leave payments. They ask you to use annual leave they have accrued to make up the other $415 in order to receive an income consistent to what they would receive if they were working their normal hours.

If you need to cut hours or reduce staff numbers, it’s critical that you’re following a proper process and staying on the right side of the law. Get in touch with our Advice Service on 0800 472 472 or email [email protected].

Westpac’s Chief Economist is releasing weekly commentary briefings each Friday – take a look.

We are also keeping track of how retail businesses are faring in our regular Retail Radar reports.

The Commerce Commission has released some guidance for businesses which have had to cancel services and events.

The Commerce Commission has released some guidance for businesses which have had to cancel services and events.

You can find these on the Ministry of Health website.

Retail NZ thinks that the priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep everyone safe and well, but we are lobbying Government and asking that businesses that can open safely be allowed to do so. After all, if it’s safe to fly on aeroplanes at Level 3 as long as passengers are masked, then logically it should be safe to go to a store – so long as social distancing and hygiene are maintained. Of course, stores should also have the right to close. Through 2020, we were also lobbying Government on business support issues, including the Wage Subsidy and rent relief.



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