Omicron Phase 3 & Product Substitution Update

24 February 2022

The Government has announced that from 11.59pm tonight, New Zealand will move into Omicron Phase 3. Phase 3 changes the default COVID-19 test from PCR to RAT and changes who is required to self-isolate. A summary of these changes is below:

Isolation and Contact Tracing Changes in Phase 3
Detailed information on what Phase 3 means can be found here.

Getting tested for COVID-19
You should only get a COVID-19 test if:

  • you have symptoms, or
  • you are a Household Contact

If you do need a test, this will likely be a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) which you will self-administer at home.

COVID-19 Positive and Household Contacts
If you are COVID-19 positive: You will have to self-isolate for 10 days (no change from Phase 2). This also applies to household contacts. If a household contact tests positive during the initial isolation period, they will need to isolate for additional 10 days from testing positive. Household contacts must get a test on Day 3 and Day 10 of isolation.

You will be sent a link to complete an online form, which will help contact tracers identify locations you have visited and people you have come into close contact with. It is important to continue scanning in using the NZ COVID Tracer app. If you have scanned in, you can upload your digital diary to the online contact tracing form. This will make it easier for you to identify people you may have been in contact with.

You can leave isolation after 10 days – you will not be contacted to be released. You can self-release from isolation once your 10 days is complete. 

Close Contacts
There are changes to ‘Close Contacts’ and their isolation requirements in Phase 3. 

At Phase 3, Close Contacts no longer need to isolate — unless they have symptoms. If you get a notification from your workplace, school or through the NZ COVID Tracer app that you are a Close Contact, you should monitor your symptoms for 10 days.

If you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you are considered a Household Contact and will need to isolate for 10 days. You must get a test on Day 3 and Day 10 of your isolation. If you develop symptoms, you should get a test sooner. If you are a Household Contact and you test positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days from the date of your positive test. 

Current Close Contacts Isolating
From Friday 25 February, if you are currently a Close Contact and are part way through your isolation, you do not need to complete your 10 days isolation and you will be permitted to leave. You do not need to get a negative COVID-19 test.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme and Bubble of One
The Close Contact Exemption Scheme and Bubble of One are still in operation during Phase 3.

Please note the Close Contact Exemption Scheme is only available to vaccinated asymptomatic critical workers whose employer has applied to be in the scheme. 

For the Bubble of One, the worker must be vaccinated, not have any symptoms (asymptomatic) and be able to maintain an individual ‘bubble of one’ while at work (whether indoors or outdoors).

Further information on these schemes can be found here

Please see below a diagram that you can use to identify what type of contact you are.

Building Supply Chain - Product Substitution
Master Builders is aware that our members are currently struggling with constraints in the building supply chain. This is creating a challenging environment for project completion and meeting deadlines. 

MBIE and Building Performance recently issued guidance on product substitutions, including examples on where substitutions are acceptable and should be used. Additionally, it covers law and build quality implications to consider. 

General information about product substitution and variations from Building Performance can be found here.

A copy of the Product Substitution Guidance document can be found here

WEBINAR | GIB Supply Activity

We invite you to a webinar with Gordon White, Winstone Wallboards Residential Market Manager and Clara Sumner, Winstone Wallboards National Partnership Manager. They will be providing an update on national GIB® plasterboard supply activity. This is a webinar you will not want to miss!

Date: 2nd March
Time: 10:00 am.

To register for this webinar, please click HERE.

Other Resources

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. 

Kia Kaha. 
David Kelly.