COVID-19: Restrictions during Alert Level 3

The latest COVID-19 restrictions have been issued pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order 2020 (“the Order”).  The Order can be found here
 
The Order appears to provide most businesses and services with more discretion to continue operating than was available during the initial level 3 and 4 restrictions earlier this year.  So long as the requirements outlined below are complied with, businesses and services can open under Alert Level 3.  Even those that must close can still undertake certain basic minimum operations.
 
There are three categories which businesses or services can fall under, for the purposes of the Order.  An exhaustive list of Category A, B and C businesses and services is set out at the bottom of this article.  Broadly, Category A and B are comprised of Government services and businesses and services that are necessary for daily life, while Category C captures all other businesses and services.  Under Alert Level 3, the restrictions that a business or service must comply with will depend on which category they fall under.
 
Category A
 
Businesses and services under Category A can remain open under Level 3, so long as they have systems and processes in place to ensure that Level 3 physical distancing can be reasonably and practicably maintained, taking into account the nature of the business or service, and can mitigate any risks that arise if physical distancing cannot be fully maintained.  For the purposes of contact tracing, a copy of the COVID-19 contact tracing QR code must be displayed in a prominent place at or near the main entrance to the premises.
 
Category B
 
Category B includes businesses and services that would be considered necessary for daily life.  Such businesses and services are able to remain open and allow customers to enter the premises, so long as they have systems and processes in place to ensure that Level 3 physical distancing can be reasonably and practicably maintained, taking into account the nature of the business or service, and can mitigate any risks that arise if physical distancing cannot be fully maintained.  However, Category B businesses and services must prevent food and drink from being served for consumption on their premises, unless the service is an accommodation service.
 
A copy of the COVID-19 contact tracing QR code must be displayed in a prominent place at or near the main entrance to the premises.
 
Public transport and venue businesses have similar restrictions to those under Category B.  Both of which must maintain physical distancing, so far as it reasonably practicable, and contract tracing should be in place.  Venues are limited to use for “controlled gatherings”, being:

  • a funeral service, tangihanga, wedding or civil union service;
  • with no more than 10 people at any one time; and
  • at which no food or drink is served.

Category C
 
Under Alert Level 3, Category C businesses and services must ensure that:

  • no customers or clients enter the premises (other than only, and to the minimum extent necessary, to collect goods through a method that minimises physical contact and does not involve entering a building) and there is no close personal contact with customers or clients;
  • Level 3 physical distancing can be maintained by persons accessing the premises, so far as reasonably practicable taking into account the nature of the business or service;
  • the risks that arise to the extent physical distancing is not fully maintained on the premises are mitigated;
  • a copy of the COVID-19 contact tracing QR code for the business or service is displayed in a prominent place at or near the entrance to the workplace; and
  • there are systems and processes in place to otherwise support the contact tracing of persons who access or use the premises (in addition to the mandatory contact tracing QR code). 

Under Alert Level 3, businesses and services must remain closed unless they can comply with the requirements under the relevant category.
 
However, the Level 3 restrictions under the Order do not prevent an employee from attending the workplace to undertake any necessary work in any premises for basic minimum operations required to maintain the condition or value of, or clean the premises, plant, equipment, or goods, care for animals, receive stock or freight, and enable support workers to be able to continue to work remotely from their homes or to prepare the premises for opening. 
 
Category A:

  • Border Services provided by Immigration New Zealand, the New Zealand Customs Service, Maritime New Zealand, and the Ministry for Primary Industries;
  • Transport Services (small passenger service) such as rental car or car share services;
  • Early childhood services and schools;
  • New Zealand Parole Board;
  • Veterinary services and animal health and welfare services; and
  • Civil defence emergency management services.

Category B:

  • Supermarkets and dairies;
  • Petrol stations, including any stores operating as part of the petrol station;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Accommodation services;
  • Licensing trusts; and
  • Hardware and DIY stores, but only for the purpose of sale to trade customers.

Category C:

  • Any business or service that falls outside either Category A or B; and
  • Is not a venue business or a public transport service.

If you have any employment-related questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, you can see further information at our website www.edwardslaw.co.nz or contact our offices on:
 
Auckland: (09) 953 9757 

Hamilton: (07) 981 3140

Tauranga: (07) 987 0914

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