All of New Zealand remains at the Orange Alert Level setting.

The next review of the Traffic Light settings will be the end of July 2022.

The information on this page is constantly updated as the situation evolves and was last updated at 1.00pm on 30/06/2022.

The latest updates at Orange are:

On 30 June 2022, the advice for Covid-19 reinfection was updated. People experiencing symptoms more than 29 days after their previous infection are now advised to isolate and test. The previous window was 90 days. People with symptoms after 29 days who test positive will be required to isolate for seven days.

Useful information

COVID-19 Traffic Light System

The Government has introduced the “traffic light system” called the COVID Protection Framework that guides the operations of businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Orange StatusWhole of New Zealand (from 11.59pm, Wednesday 13 April)

Key requirements for retail sector

MasksFace masks required for indoor settingsThe Government has announced changes to the rules around masks:

Customers in hospitality venues (cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs) are no longer required to wear face masks – but public-facing staff in these businesses are still required to be masked.

Customers and staff in retail shops and shopping malls are still required to wear masks.
Face masks are encouraged
Capacity LimitsRetail may open with capacity limits based on 1m distancing. No outdoor capacity limitsNo capacity limits indoors or outdoorsNo capacity limits indoors or outdoors
Contact Tracing / record keepingNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Isolation RequirementsIf you test positive for Covid-19 or are a household contact, you must self-isolate for 7 daysIf you test positive for Covid-19 or are a household contact, you must self-isolate for 7 daysIf you test positive for Covid-19 or are a household contact, you must self-isolate for 7 days

Frequently asked questions

Sick leave should be taken in any situation where a staff member is unwell and not fit to attend work, or has a dependent who relies on them and is unwell.

If a staff member is fit to attend work but unable to due to isolation requirements, we advise first consulting their employment agreement, and then discussing and agreeing options which may include the use of annual leave, unpaid leave, alternate leave or a combination of all three.

Depending on the situation you may be eligible to apply for the Leave Support Scheme or Short Term Absence payment, and use this to pay towards their leave while they are unable to attend work. See the detail of the financial support here.

It is important to note that all businesses can continue to operate while we are at the Red Traffic Light setting. There is no longer an Essential Business Register, and you do not need Government permission to operate.

Businesses now need to self-assess if they meet the criteria for being critical. A critical business services basic human needs – food, shelter, public service, utilities, supply chains etc.

If you have an employee that is absolutely critical to your businesses operations and is identified as close contact,  they may be able to continue to work (note they must be fully vaccinated and asymptomatic):

·       as a ‘bubble of one’, if they are not customer facing and follow strict health protocols

·       through the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, if they work for a critical service.

There is a tool here to help you decide whether you qualify, you then you can make a declaration by registering on the Close Contact Exemption Scheme Critical Services Register here Register for Close Contact Exemption Scheme. Its important to note your business will need to meet a high bar to be deemed critical, and not all employees in your business will be deemed critical. The general view is that employee will need to be critical to your operations, safety, and not just a general employee. The exemption should never be applied to all employees.

Given the risk of transmission from a close contact, businesses need to be very cautious about the extent they use the scheme, as a positive COVID-19 case at work could result in even greater absenteeism in the future. Businesses are also still required to meet all of their obligations under the Health and Safety Act.

Any changes to terms and conditions of employment (as outlined in your employees Individual Employment Agreements) must be done via consultation with impacted staff, prior to making any changes. This is a straightforward process and involves firstly a conversation to explain why you are proposing the changes, followed by a letter asking for their feedback. Once you have given them some time, then considered their feedback and made any necessary adjustments to your proposal based on their ideas, you can then confirm the changes.

We would advise initially making the changes on a temporary basis, due to COVID impacts being short term. Our advice team have template letters to support you through this process if needed – these are free for Retail NZ members.

As always, if you need advice or support, please contact the Retail NZ Advice Service.

Some limited financial support is available. See the details here.

If you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you are considered a Household Contact and will need to isolate for 7 days. You must get a test on Day 3 and Day 7 of your isolation. If you develop symptoms you should get a test sooner. If you are a Household Contact and then test positive, you will need to isolate for 7 days from the positive test result.

If you have tested negative on day 3 and day 7 and have no symptoms, you are free to leave isolation.

Once your isolation period ends:

If less than 10 days have passed since your isolation ended, you do not need to isolate again as a household contact if someone else in your house gets COVID-19.

If more than 10 days have passed since your isolation ended, you will need to isolate again as a household contact if someone else in your house gets COVID-19.

If a persons COVID-19 symptoms return, and it is 28 days or less since their last COVID-19 infection, then there is no need to take a RAT and they should stay home and recover until they have been 24 hours symptom free.

If a person develops new COVID-19 symptoms and it is 29 days or more since their last COVID-19 infection it is possible they may have Covid-19 again, and they should take a RAT. If the test is positive, this will be considered a reinfection and they should begin their 7 day isolation period. Their household contacts will also need to isolate, unless they have either had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and are recovered, or been a household contact within the last 10 days.

If you have a critical worker and some aspect of your business is critical you can register with MBIE. If a critical worker becomes a close contact, they can skip isolation requirements, so long as they undergo daily Rapid Antigen Testing (provided by your DHB) and follow all other public health requirements around preventing the transmission of COVID.

If you want to buy Rapid Antigen Tests, they are available from Ngaio Diagnostics but you cannot require employees who are isolating as a household contact to return to test and return to work unless you have identified their role as critical to your business operations, and you have assessed and registered your business as critical.

Ngaio Diagnostics, a NZ owned company and member of Retail NZ, is offering highly competitive supply of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen tests (RATs). Find out more in the COVID-19 Business Services section of our Suppliers’ Directory.

Here are some links to help support you and your teams at this time:

  • In January we hosted a Retail NZ webinar: Preparing for Omicron. We discussed key areas to help you, your business and teams navigate this environment. Click here to learn more and watch the recording;
  • You can help your employees wellbeing through COVID-19 with this online course;
  • For e-learning courses to support personal safety and conflict management, check out the suite of e-learning modules in our resource library;
  • The collateral for the Shop Nice campaign can be found here. Get on board and join the movement by displaying Shop Nice in-store and online;
  • If your team is struggling with mental health during this time and require additional support please reach out to us and we can help direct you to the appropriate services.

As your business navigates COVID-19, it’s important to look out for your people’s wellbeing. If you need to make changes in your business, be sure you follow good processes.

To help we’ve created two FREE e-learning short courses for your business:

  1. Helping your employees’ wellbeing during COVID-19
  2. Managing business change during COVID-19

The Retail NZ e-learning courses are available in English, te reo MāoriChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)Korean and Hindi

The risk profile for requiring vaccinations for your employees has changed significantly post-Omicron outbreak. We suggest you run through and update your existing risk assessment, to decide whether there are other controls that can mitigate any risk, before deciding whether vaccination mandates could still be justified for your business.

The risk profile for requiring vaccinations for any person who comes into contact with your business has changed post-Omicron outbreak. We suggest you run through and update your existing risk assessment, to decide whether requiring vaccination is still justified.

You can find a range of signage for your business here

If you are an Auckland based retailer, don’t forget to register for Activate Tāmaki  Makaurau. You can access different types of assistance:

  1. First steps: Free health & wellbeing tools for business owners and managers.
  2. Register for an Implementation Grant to put your business plan into action (registrations for Activate Tāmaki Makaurau Implementation Grants have now closed as of 4pm on 24 February 2022).
  3. Join the community to connect, share knowledge, get free resources and follow the Retail NZ page.

Learn more about the support available.

Want to stay up to date?  Become a member of Retail NZ to receive direct updates during the current COVID and Omicron crisis. Our members receive our direct support and updates during COVID-19 alert level changes and beyond. To discuss membership contact our team now.

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