COVID-19 – Update 47 – 19 August 2021
Here's the latest update from the Southern Lakes Business Response & Recovery team.
Here’s the latest information for businesses on COVID-19 following the Prime Minister’s 1.00pm update today in regards to new community cases, the origin and genome sequencing of the cases, mandatory mask wearing information and updates on accessing the wage subsidy and vaccine rollout.
The Prime Minister has announced a 24-hour extension of the window for scheduled services out of Queenstown Airport to 11.59pm tomorrow (Friday 20 August). Only people returning home are permitted to travel. The Government is working with Air New Zealand to ensure those that need to can get home. Queenstown Airport will be facilitating repatriation services on Friday 20 August to ensure New Zealanders can return home. To book your seat please go online or contact your airline directly.
Update on COVID-19 community cases
The Government has advised there are currently a total of 21 community cases - all in Auckland - and these have all been confirmed as the Delta variant and linked to NSW by genome sequencing. 12 of the 21 cases have already been confirmed as part of the same Auckland cluster and a further eight are being investigated. More details have emerged about how and when the first case entered New Zealand enabling the Government to contact close contacts, especially those at the Crowne Plaza and Jet Park Hotel MIQ facilities.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it shows the Auckland outbreak is linked to a person who travelled to New Zealand from NSW on a managed red zone flight. That person returned a positive day one test on 9 August and was transferred to Middlemore Hospital on 16 August.
You can watch the August 19 press conference here
There are additional locations of interest throughout Auckland and the Coromandel region including the addition of Albany Mall. Locations are listed and updated here.
The Government has stated that mask use is now mandatory for everyone 12 years and over when working at or visiting any essential services including supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations. Please note there are exemptions in place for those who have a physical or mental illness or have conditions or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable. More information is available on the COVID-19 website.
UPDATE FOR QUEENSTOWN: Due to the heavy swabbing load being experienced at the Queenstown Medical Centre (QMC), they are suspending vaccination clinics until next Thursday 26 August. If you have a booking, a cancellation text will be sent to you (the system will also send a reminder to turn up, please ignore this!) Keeping patients and the community as safe as possible is QMC’s priority and mixing the two streams does not allow this. QMC is working with the DHB to continue vaccinating as soon as possible at a separate venue while we are in the lockdown stages. Thanks for everyone’s patience.
Those on the frontline - including supermarket workers - are now eligible to get vaccinated. The Government will be working with larger employers to get their teams vaccinated. Smaller businesses, classed as customer facing, are also eligible to now get vaccinated. The process to book is the same:
- The COVID-19 vaccination program will resume from today (Thursday 19 August) throughout NZ operating under Alert Level 4 conditions. Please check with your local clinic if they are open for vaccinations (please refer to the note above about QMC). If you are booked to go for your vaccination and your clinic is closed please reschedule accordingly.
- This will look a bit different - with vaccination sites operating under Alert Level 4 conditions capacity will be reduced due to physical distancing requirements and other safety measures.
- The reduced capacity means we may need to postpone some appointments. If we need to postpone your appointment you will be contacted by the Ministry of Health, your DHB or healthcare provider. If you don’t hear from us, please come to your appointment as scheduled.
- The 40+ age band is open from today – anyone in that age band can now visit bookmyvaccine.nz to make their bookings. Also, anyone classed as a frontline worker, not yet vaccinated can now book a vaccine.
How to Book a vaccine
Online: Book online through Book My Vaccine - the quickest way to make vaccination appointments. It will take around five minutes to book. If you have any problems booking or need to change your details, you can email the Book My Vaccine team.
Phone: Call the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26. Calls are free and the team is available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one.
What to expect when you call: You might have to wait a little while before your call is answered, as the lines can be busy — please be patient. Once your call is answered, it will take around 15 minutes to book your appointments. When you call, it is a good idea to have your NHI (National Health Index) number ready. This will make the booking process quicker. You can find your NHI number on a prescription, x-ray or test result, or a letter from the hospital.
Queenstown and Wānaka Airports at Alert Level 4
Additional flights are operating out of Queenstown today for New Zealanders to return home. A total of 44 flight movements (22 arrivals and 22 departures) are scheduled for today (Thursday 19 August). Wānaka Airport has no scheduled services on Thursday 19 August. Those in the Southern Lakes region needing to get home have been given an additional 24 hours to get home and the Government is working with Air New Zealand to ensure those that need to, can get home.
As a reminder, at Queenstown Airport:
- 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 are 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 mandatory in the airport terminal and 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
We ask that everyone please respect our staff and the wider airport community as they do their best to ensure everyone can return home safely.
Air New Zealand updates domestic network
Following the 48-hour grace period to get Kiwis home, Air New Zealand is adjusting its domestic schedule for Friday 20 August – Tuesday 24 August, in line with Alert Level 4 restrictions across the country.
The airline will operate a very limited domestic schedule to enable essential travel only. Customers who are booked to travel on Friday will receive a cancellation email, and their bookings will be held in credit. Customers will have 12 months from the day their credit is processed to book a flight, and another 12 months to travel.
During Alert Level 4, travel is restricted to essential services only. Customers who are travelling should check they are eligible to travel under Alert Level 4 on the Government's COVID-19 website, as travel is severely limited. These customers will also need to carry a letter to prove they are travelling for essential purposes.
Customers who meet the criteria and still wish to travel should call the Air New Zealand Contact Centre who will rebook them free of charge for travel up to and including Tuesday 31 August.
The schedule is:
2x return services
1x return service
2x return services
1x return service
1x return service
From Saturday 21 August – Tuesday 24 August, services into and out of Auckland will continue on a limited schedule. Once guidance from the Government on the Alert Level for the rest of New Zealand has been given, the airline will update its domestic network accordingly.
The schedule for Auckland is:
2 x return services –Monday & Tuesday
1 x return services – Saturday, Sunday
1 x return services – Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
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 our online booking tool. Those who have booked through a third party will need to contact their agent.
We urge customers who have travel booked over this period to cancel or change their booking via the online booking tool so we can get as many Kiwis back to their place of residence as possible.
The Air New Zealand contact centre and social media team are currently experiencing very high demand and the airline is grateful to customers for their patience and kindness while it works through these changes.
For the latest information, customers can check the Air New Zealand COVID-19 Hub and travel alerts page.
Business support for businesses and workers
Business NZ Network is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Friday 20 August from 4.00-5.00pm) to provide insight and guidance on the economic response and financial support available to businesses along with top tips for prioritising mental health and supporting employee wellbeing. Speakers include Hon Grant Robertson and Jimi Hunt. This is complimentary and open to all members - register here
COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021: Work and Income have released a form for employers to complete, to register interest in the Wage Subsidy. Completing this form will keep employers up to date with the subsidy. We would highly encourage all that have been affected to fill it out. There are no prerequisites to filling the form.
Complete this form and you will be notified when applications for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 open.
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.
Assets for businesses
Below are links to posters and images that businesses can use to share the key COVID-19 messages with their team and customers.
Face covering, testing and hygiene tiles and A4s:
- Social media tiles and flyers supporting when to wear a face covering, social distancing, staying in your bubble, getting a test, keeping up good hygiene and scanning using the COVID Tracer app.
Posters and assets for business:
- How to remove a face covering
- How to wear a face covering
- Face coverings required
- Please wear a face covering
- Sanitise on your way in
- We are cashless
Goods and services
A reminder on not panic buying when visiting supermarkets and essential services:
- Customers should not stockpile; please buy what you need and be fair to others.
- New Zealand has plenty of food and supplies – it just takes a little while to get in onto the shelves. Last lockdown, supermarkets were selling enough to feed 10 million people every day. If people shop normally, it will give supermarkets the chance to restock the shelves.
- While the panic buying seen previously has reduced, we are still seeing an increase in demand.
- People are able to get what they need, and prices will stay within the range of what is expected.
Here’s a reminder on some other things that may be useful:
Mental health and wellbeing support
Heading into lockdown again can be difficult for some. Here’s some tips, tools and contact details if you, your team or family need help. Please reach out.
- There’s information about local health and social services online or if you’re after some wellbeing tips, check out www.allright.org.nz or follow them on Facebook.
- The Business Response Group (BRG) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Take it easy with people – we don’t always know what’s going on in their lives. Let’s keep up the kindness, look after each other, and do what it takes to get through together.
- If you feel scared, threatened, or unsafe, please call the Police via 111. If you can’t call, message a friend and ask them to call on your behalf. You can leave your bubble if you’re worried about your safety. If you need to talk, you can call: Family violence information line 0800 456 450; Youthline on 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email email@example.com; Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044334, text 4334, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Networks Wānaka offer local support which is detailed in their flyer here. 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. For non-urgent matters, email email@example.com 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake Wānaka Tourism – Tim Barke - GM – email@example.com
Ignite Wānaka Chamber – Naomi Lindsay – General Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
QLDC Economic Development – Peter Harris – Economic Development Manager email@example.com
Regional Business Partners – Tara Druce – Business Advisor – firstname.lastname@example.org