COVID-19 Member Update
18 August 2021
Last night the Prime Minister and the Director General of Health held a press conference confirming a community case of COVID-19 in a 58-year-old man located in Devonport. At this stage the origin is not known and there is no clear link to the border. This morning the Prime Minister further confirmed it is the Delta variant and there are another four confirmed cases, all linked to the original case. Confirmed locations of interest can be found here.
Below are some updates for you on some of the key announcements.
- Current Alert Levels
As of 11:59pm last night the whole of New Zealand is moved to Alert Level 4. All of New Zealand will be at Alert Level 4 for three days from Tuesday 17 August 11:59pm; however, Auckland and the Coromandel region required to be in Alert Level 4 for seven days. Updates will be provided by the government as alert levels are reviewed over this time. Please click here to find out general information regarding this outbreak.
- Alert Level Requirements
You must stay home other than for essential personal movement
At Alert Level 4 you must stay home. You may only leave home to shop for groceries, access necessary healthcare, get a COVID-19 test, exercise in your local area, or go to work if you are working in an Alert Level 4 service, and you cannot work from home. You will still be able to access all the essentials you need such as food and medication so there is no need to worry. It is strongly encouraged that you wear a face covering whenever you leave your home.
- QR Codes – display and use
Use the NZ COVID Tracer app if you can. The app keeps us one step ahead of the virus — the more we scan the safer we will be.
Turn on Bluetooth tracing in your app. Bluetooth tracing keeps track of who you have been near, while maintaining everyone’s privacy. Remember to keep scanning QR codes — both are important for contact tracing.
All businesses must display the Government Covid-19 Tracer App QR code. Creating a code is simple, it takes five minutes. You only need your details and your company NZBN. To create a code for your business, click here.
For sites, we recommend you also use the Covid-19 Tracer App QR code. This is on top of the mandatory site register. This allows sub-contractors and other visitors to keep an electronic record of the different sites that they visit. It will also help the Ministry of Health should they need to do contact tracing.
- Face coverings
Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and on flights, and are strongly encouraged in all places where social distancing is difficult e.g. the supermarket. The Prime Minister has also requested that everyone wear a face covering when they leave their property. We will update you if masks become necessary for sites. The Construction Health and Safety Protocols require face coverings as an appropriate control for close contact work. More information regarding the Level 4 requirements can be found here.
Vaccines are currently suspended and an update on how these can continue safely is expected in the next 48 hours. We recommend that you do book yourself in for a vaccine as soon as you are eligible for one. Vaccination bookings are currently open to those in Groups 1,2 and 3 and those in Group 4 aged 40 or over. For information on how to book a vaccine, please click here.
COVID-19 Businesses support
The Minister of Finance announced last night that businesses that have a 40 percent drop in revenue will be eligible for the government's wage subsidy scheme. You will be able to apply for the wage subsidy scheme from Friday via the Work and Income website. Businesses can also apply for the Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) if they suffer a 30 percent drop in income. Applications for the RSP can also be made via Inland Revenue Department’s website, which should begin accepting applications from early next week. Payments are expected to be made abut three days after the lodging of the application.
More information can be found here. Business support option are still being updated, and further updates are expected today.
Specific requirements for construction
We intend to provide a more comprehensive update on the impacts on the construction sector today. Until then we have provided some key information below.
It is only in rare cases that construction activity can occur under Level 4, which are building, construction, and maintenance services required for 1 or both of the following:
- To address immediate risks to health and safety
- Nationally important infrastructure, which means infrastructure that enables or supports supply chains that are needed for 1 or both of the following:
- to provide for the current needs of people and communities:
- to enable or support the recovery of the whole or any part of New Zealand from the effects of COVID-19
You can also undertake work under Level 4 if it meets the Government definition of an essential service. This includes work required to:
- Maintain human health and safety
- Avoid significant environmental harm
- Support critical infrastructure, for example electricity, gas, water and waste water (sanitation)
- Support essential services, for example food processing, food distribution, supermarkets, dairies and pharmacies
- Support regulatory service in relation to building consenting, compliance and resource consenting necessary for essential services outlined above
- Maintain the supply of products and materials necessary for essential services outlined above.
We also note that construction sites are to be secured to ensure they are safe during Level 4. For more information on the health and safety standards under Level 4 and the latest COVID 19 Standard please click here.
To read requirements for businesses under Alert Level 4, please click here.
At all Alert Levels it is important that:
- Any sick person stays at home and does not come onto site.
- Sites maintain appropriate hand and surface hygiene.
- All sites ensure proper sign-in and out processes are followed (for any person entering the site, including deliveries and inspections).
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Master Builders is here 24/7 to support our members. We are continuing to provide our member counseling service, available anytime if you need support. You can call 0508 664 981 and be connected with professional, qualified support. Find out more by clicking here.
We understand this is a stressful time for many people. Please visit the Mates in Construction website for more information or call the national Telehealth Service on 1737.
As this is an evolving situation, we will continue to send you updates as required. The next press conference is scheduled to be held at 1pm today (18 August 2021) by the
Prime Minister and the Director General of Health.