COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing & ‘Bubble of One’
14 February 2022
As you are all aware, New Zealand is currently at Red. Please continue to keep physically distanced where possible, and scan QR codes wherever you go. If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, isolate immediately and call Healthline for advice.
Please continue to check the locations of interest. Confirmed locations of interest can be found here
Three Phase Plan for Omicron
We are currently in Phase 1 of the three phase plan for Omicron - see below.
To see an enlarged image, please click here
To see a version of the Three Phase Plan in written format, please click here
Close Contact Exemption Scheme
The Government has announced which businesses can apply to be part of the Close Contact Exemption scheme. Please note that this scheme is only available for use in Phases 2 & 3 of Omicron. In Phase 1, all businesses must follow Public Health advice for isolation requirements.
The Close Contact Exemption Scheme is for critical services only. It allows a worker who is an asymptomatic, vaccinated, close contact
to return to work, provided certain health measures are in place.
Critical services include food production and its supply chain, key public services like health and emergency services, lifeline utilities such as power and water supplies, transport, critical financial services, news media and social welfare. It also includes human and animal health and welfare.
Businesses and organisations can register online as a critical service if they think they meet the criteria. There is a tool on business.govt.nz
to help businesses self-assess. Registration is a self-declaration and will be able to be checked. It is not an approval.
On completing registration, businesses will be issued with a letter including a unique identifier. This letter will be part of the documentation a worker will need in order to collect a free RAT kit from a collection site, once the scheme comes into effect for phases 2 and 3.
It is up to businesses to self-assess and decide if they want to participate in the scheme. In doing so there needs to be an awareness that bringing close contacts into the workplace will come with risks.
Workers identified for the scheme will need to be vaccinated. If at any point they return a positive test, they will need to isolate and take a PCR test.
Bubble of One
People who either work alone, or have the capacity to do so, will be able to continue operating in a “bubble of one” if they are identified as a contact of a COVID-19 case.
Any business or service where the worker can operate in isolation from other staff and customers can use the Bubble of One. This includes sole traders. You will need to be able to do your job without interacting with others at any stage of your close contact period.
Workers can continue to work if they are vaccinated, don’t have symptoms and don’t have contact with anyone else
. These guidelines apply to any workers, not just critical workers, and do not require them to return regular tests.
All services and businesses (including government agencies) are able to use “Bubble of One” for any worker, provided they can meet the requirements set out below. There are no registration requirements.
The Bubble requirement is met if the worker is undertaking work in an indoor or outdoor defined space, where there are no others present in that space (a defined space is either a room with no direct airflow into other spaces, or an outdoor space that is at least 2 metres away from other people at all times).
Workers who are entering a person’s home should discuss the bubble requirements with the client in the first instance.
The worker must be:
- Without any symptoms (asymptomatic)
- Able to maintain an individual ‘Bubble-of-One’ while at work, indoors or outdoors
See business.govt.nz for more information, including on meals and use of bathroom facilities.
Everyone over the age of 5 in New Zealand is eligible to be vaccinated. We encourage everyone in the construction industry to be vaccinated. Vaccination is our best defence against COVID-19. Boosters are now available for people over 18, who had their second dose three months ago.
From February 3rd, face coverings, such as scarves, bandannas or t-shirts are no longer acceptable. Face masks must now be used. Everyone must wear a mask that is attached to the face by loops around the ears or head.
CHASNZ have provided health and safety information for construction during COVID. Resources can be found here.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Master Builders is here 24/7 to support our members. We are continuing to provide our member counselling 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.