Wednesday, 18th August, 2021

Dear Member,

COVID-19 – Update 46 – 18 August 2021

Here's the latest update from the Southern Lakes Business Response & Recovery team.


Following on from the Alert Level Four announcement last night and today’s 1.00pm media briefing, the below outlines the latest update on community COVID-19 cases, the Government’s latest advice, and the local support available to Southern Lakes businesses.

If you need any assistance or advice, we are here to help so please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us (our contact information is at the bottom of this email). If you or one of your employees needs to talk to someone, please contact one of the agencies listed below or make use of the online mental health resources available. 

We will update you as we know more. In the meantime, please stay safe in your bubble, look after one another, and if you go anywhere please mask up, keep your distance and keep scanning QR codes to keep track of where you have been. 

Update on COVID-19 community cases
The Government has advised there are currently 7 community cases in Auckland and these have all been confirmed as the Delta variant and linked to NSW by genome sequencing.

One of the four new cases is a workmate of Case A, the case announced yesterday. The other three are contacts of this workmate. One of the three contacts is a fully vaccinated health professional who works at Auckland City Hospital and had been working in recent days.

There are a number of locations of interest, throughout Auckland and the Coromandel region including a church and a casino. Locations will be listed and updated here.

Mask use and vaccinations
The Government has stated that mask use will be mandatory for everyone 12 years and over from 11.50pm tonight when working at or visiting any essential services including supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations. 

Please check with your local clinic if they are open for vaccinations. If you are booked to go for your vaccination and your clinic is closed please reschedule accordingly. 

Queenstown and Wānaka Airports at Alert Level 4
Queenstown and Wānaka airports will be facilitating scheduled services operated by Air New Zealand and Jetstar in Queenstown and Sounds Air in Wānaka, to ensure people can return home. If anyone has a booking outside of the 48-hour travel window they should contact their airline directly.

There are a few changes that people can expect if they are travelling through Queenstown Airport at Alert Level Four: 

  • Passengers must present proof of travel to enter the terminal. The terminal is closed to all non-essential personnel and members of the public not travelling
  • Aviation Security Services will be stationed at the terminal entrances managing access to the terminal and ensuring everyone signs in using the COVID Tracer App or manually before entering
  • Face-coverings are required in the airport terminal and are mandatory on all flights within New Zealand
  • Retail outlets in the terminal are closed
  • Passengers who need to return rental cars can still do so and use the rental company drop box to return car keys

There are 32 flight movements today (16 arrivals & 16 departures) and 34 scheduled flight movements tomorrow (17 arrivals & 17 departures).

Queenstown and Wānaka airports ask that everyone please respect their staff and the wider airport community as they do their best to ensure everyone can return home safely.

Travel update from Air New Zealand
As travellers have been given a grace period of 48 hours to return home, Air New Zealand has advised that they are experiencing high levels of demand for services ex-Queenstown. To cater for this, they have up-gauged jets to A321s where possible and are encouraging customers who aren’t intending to travel to cancel their tickets to free up seats for others. In addition:

  • Customers throughout New Zealand with existing bookings for travel between 17 August and 24 August will be able change their booking with change fees and any fare difference waived through to 31 August. Customers can do this via the Air NZ online booking tool. Those who have booked through a third party will need to contact their agent. 
  • Customers who hold a ticket for a domestic flight scheduled to depart up until 30 September are able to opt in for credit and can do this via the Air NZ online booking tool. 

Business support for businesses and workers
Work and Income has activated a Wage Subsidy Scheme and Resurgence Support Payment to assist businesses, employers and self-employed workers.

Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS): a payment for employers to keep paying staff and protect jobs.The rates have been raised to reflect increased wage costs.  Applications will be open from 9.00am on Friday 20 August.

Resurgence Support Payment (RSP): a payment to help support businesses or organisations with one-off costs due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. This is available to eligible firms at the same time as the WSS. Eligible businesses and organisations can apply to receive the lesser of:

  • $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs
  • four times (4x) the actual revenue decline experienced by the applicant.

Other existing support for individuals include the Leave Support Scheme (LSS) and the Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP). Rates will also be increased in line with the WSS, as each of these payments is set at the same rate.

More information on financial support can be viewed on the IRD website and on the COVID-19 website.

Mental health and wellbeing support
COVID-19 is changing our daily lives once again. It’s important to look after our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our whānau and community as we get through this – together.
 
If you, your loved ones or your employees need immediate help please:

  • Freecall or text 1737, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for support from trained counsellors, 1737.org.nz.
  • Freecall Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357.
  • Contact your GP

The Business Response Group (BRG) also has a resilience initiative available called Take Stock. This involves 3 free counselling sessions available for any small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) business owner located within the Queenstown Lakes District. Confidential services are offered through Benestar. To access this service contact Benestar on 0800 360 364 or counsellingsupportnz@benestar.com and quote the ‘Take stock’ program to redeem the sessions. As part of this, a free webinar is offered once a month to any owners, employees and family members of businesses within the Queenstown Lakes.

For additional support and links for help, click here.

QLDC Services Update
All service centres, sport and recreation facilities, playgrounds and libraries will remain closed until further notice and there are a number of QLDC service changes to be aware of. However, the main QLDC phone line will still be operating with priority given to urgent issues, and for non-urgent matters email services@qldc.govt.nz or visit the QLDC website.  

Useful resources for more information
COVID-19: Information for businesses
COVID-19 New Zealand Government updates
Ministry of Health website for the latest updates on COVID-19 
Work & Income NZ - COVID-19 Support

We are here to help so if you have any concerns or are not getting the support you need from the resources, please contact anyone below:

Destination Queenstown - Paul Abbot - CEO: paul@queenstownNZ.nz 
Queenstown Chamber - Ruth Stokes - CEO: ceo@queenstownchamber.org.nz 
Lake Wānaka Tourism - Tim Barke -  GM: gm@wanaka.co.nz 
Ignite Wānaka Chamber - Naomi Lindsay - General Manager - naomi@ignitewanaka.co.nz
QLDC Economic Development - Peter Harris - Economic Development Manager: peter.harris@qldc.govt.nz
Regional Business Partners - Tara Druce - Business Advisor: tara@otagorbp.co.nz