COVID-19 Update on Alert Levels and Vaccination
5 October 2021
The Government announced yesterday that Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3, but with the easing of some restrictions (discussed further below). This followed an announcement on Sunday that the Waikato region was moving back to Alert Level 3 for five days after cases were detected in Raglan and Hamilton East. The Delta strain has proven to absolutely be a “game changer” when it comes to the pandemic and New Zealand’s response to it. As indicated by the Prime Minister, due to the number of daily cases and spread outside of Auckland, New Zealand is now transitioning from an elimination strategy to a contain and control strategy. One heavily reliant on high vaccination rates, but we are not there yet.
After assessing each of the current Level 3 restrictions and its impact on community spread or containment, the Government has developed a roadmap for transitioning Auckland out of Level 3 made up of three phases (these are set out below, along with general COVID information). There have been no dates given for moving from one phase to the next, the Government is taking a “careful and methodical approach” and will be reviewing the situation weekly. However, it is largely based on increasing vaccination rates to around 90%, as it has taken seven weeks for the rates to double to our current rates of 79% for the first dose and 48% to be fully vaccinated (of the eligible population and as at 3 October), we can expect the phases to be in effect for some weeks yet. A rough estimate stated yesterday was four to eight weeks.
The Government has also made it clear that holding large scale events such as concerts, particularly over summer, will depend on vaccination rates. Vaccination passports are currently being looked at and work is occurring with the hospitality sector to establish a vaccination framework for any large-scale events.
The Government will also provide an update on Thursday 7 October on a new testing strategy going forward. This strategy is based on a report prepared by Professor David Murdoch from Otago University, considered by Cabinet yesterday. Professor Murdoch leads the Government’s testing advisory group. His work will form the basis of a new rigorous testing regime that will be central to New Zealand’s strategy to control the virus going forward.
The announcements do not impact the Waikato region, which will remain at Alert Level 3 for the five days (from Sunday 3 October) until further information is obtained regarding the cases there. Genome sequencing has linked the initial cases to an Auckland sub-cluster.
RMBA's Position on Vaccination
Due to the crucial role of vaccinations in controlling this outbreak, us all returning to normal life and our sector continuing to operate no matter what the Alert Level, I thought it was important to share with you all our position on vaccinations.
RMBA holds the position that vaccination is one of the, if not the, most important tools we have in eliminating community spread of COVID 19, particularly the delta variant, or living as safely as we can with it (you are 5 times less likely to catch it and 10 times less likely to die from it if fully vaccinated). The Government has reiterated this point at every update, but the numbers make it even clearer. Only 3% of those infected so far in this latest outbreak have been vaccinated people.
RMBA strongly supports the Government’s stance on the crucial role of vaccinations in the fight against COVID-19, and encourages all New Zealanders, those in the sector, our members and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. As an employer we support our employees to obtain their vaccination during work hours, and any recovery time, without needing to apply for leave to do so. We encourage all our members to do the same.
We also encourage our sector to reach a 90% vaccination rate. I challenge our sector to be one of the first in New Zealand to reach this important and vital milestone. We are leaders in our communities, and one of New Zealand’s most important sectors. Let’s look after the families we build homes for and build on the already strong vaccination rates in our sector.
Alert Level 3 phases and general information on Covid 19
Phase One – effective from Tuesday 5 October at 11:59pm
- All of New Zealand apart from Auckland and the Waikato region remain at Alert Level 2, but the cap on numbers allowed inside hospitality venues has been lifted. The cap of 100 continues to remain for social gatherings.
- Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, with some easing of restrictions:
- Two different bubbles can now meet up if the activity occurs OUTSIDE and with a maximum of 10 people. You can meet up with a number of different bubbles, just as long as it is one at a time and outside and you maintain the 10-person limit.
- Aucklanders can move around the region to undertake outdoor activities such as tramping, hunting, fishing, bowls, yoga, cross fit and the like. Again the activity must remain outside at all times and involve no more than 10 people and you must remain socially distanced.
- Early Childhood Education can open, with children needing to remain in bubbles with a maximum of 10. It will be up to each ECE on how they will manage this. Workers and parents are to wear masks for pick up and collection. Workers must also be tested regularly.
- Public health advice is that schools will be able to open when the holidays finish on 18 October, with those 12 and older and teachers wearing masks. However, a final decision is yet to be made on this.
- The wage subsidy and resurgence payments continue
Phase two – no set date, phase one reviewed weekly
- No indication if there will be changes to Phase One for All of New Zealand other than Auckland.
- Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, with further easing of restrictions
- All of Phase One – but with an increase from 10 to 25 people
- Retail can open, with the usual social distancing and mask wearing requirements
- Public facilities can open such as libraries, zoos, and pools
- The wage subsidy and resurgence payment continue
Phase three – no set date, phase two reviewed weekly
- Hospitality (such as bars, cafes and restaurants) will be able to open, but with the precaution of seated, and separated, with a limit of 50 people.
- Close contact businesses like hairdressers will also be able to reopen at this stage, with the usual mask use, and with physical distancing.
- Gatherings will extend to 50.
- The wage subsidy and resurgence payment continue
Important General Information
CHASNZ has now updated all its protocols, which can be found here.
The financial support for businesses will continue with the wage subsidy and the resurgence payment continuing while Auckland remains in any of the three phases under Alert Level 3. For more information see here.
For any further questions relating to the building and construction sector please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for our last update.
Please continue to check the locations of interest and ensure you follow the isolation and testing requirements if they relate to you or your household members. Confirmed locations of interest can be found here.
Please also continue to get tested if you have any symptoms at all. Testing is strongly encouraged across the country.
The government continues to strongly encourage anyone over 12 years of age to get vaccinated now, which we absolutely support. Vaccinations are the main tool we have in both saving lives and avoiding strict lockdowns. There remain around 880,000 eligible people who are yet to get vaccinated. If you are one oft these please do not put if off any longer, you can get vaccinated today. There is no need to wait for a booking you may have in the future, you are able to find a slot now. You can book your vaccine by clicking here or you can attend a drive through or walk in vaccination centre without a booking.
Click here to find out general information regarding this outbreak.
Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and stay safe.