Friday, 20th August, 2021

Dear Member,

COVID-19 – Update 48 – 20 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 3.00pm update today.
 
The Prime Minister has announced that the whole of New Zealand will stay at Alert Level 4 until 11:59 Tuesday August 24, with a cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday to determine next steps.  
 

Update on COVID-19 community cases 

The Government has advised there are 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the cluster to 31. Eight of these cases are in Auckland and three are in Wellington.
 
Locations of interest are progressively updated here.
 
What do I do if I visited a location of interest?
People who visited these locations during the relevant time and date, should immediately isolate themselves at their home or accommodation and contact their GP or Healthline for advice getting a test.

There is a Section 70 notice in place that puts a legal requirement on all people who were at locations of interest at the relevant times to get tested. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to $4,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
 
Reminders Alert Level 4

  • Stay at home in your bubble.
  • Go out only if you are an essential worker, for exercise (with your bubble), or to access essential services.
  • If you do go out, wear a face mask, scan QR codes and have Bluetooth turned on in the tracer app or complete your details in the manual registers on site if you do not have scanning capabilities on your phone.
  • Wash your hands
  • If you are unwell with cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms or have been in a location of interest you should be isolating at home and contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
  • Vaccination is our biggest defence you can book online here

 

Business support for businesses and workers

 
What financial support is available for businesses affected by the Alert Level 4? 
There are various COVID-19 financial support schemes available to businesses under Alert Level 4, depending on your situation. 

What is the Wage Subsidy Scheme and when can I apply? 
Applications for the Wage Subsidy Scheme have opened today (20 August) with applications initially open for two weeks on the Work and Income website here. The Wage Subsidy August 2021 is a payment to support employers, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021. 

The Wage Subsidy will be available to eligible businesses, organisations and the self-employed impacted by the move to Alert Level 4. 
 
To reflect higher wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020 the payments have been increased to: 

  • $600 per week per full-time employee 
  • $359 per week per part-time employee

 
What is the Resurgence Support Payment and when can I apply? 
Applications for the alert level increase announced on 17 August will open at 8am on Tuesday 24 August 2021. You’ll be able to apply on the Inland Revenue website, here. 
 
The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. If your business or organisation is facing a reduction in revenue due to an alert level increase, you may be eligible for the RSP. 

A business or organisation must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to the increased COVID-19 alert level (subject to all other criteria being met). This decrease in revenue or capital-raising ability is compared with a typical 7-day revenue period in the 6 weeks prior to the increase from Alert Level 1. 
When the RSP is activated, 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


Vaccine rollout


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 
 
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

 
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:

Route

Services

Auckland-Christchurch

2x return services

Auckland-Wellington

1x return service

Wellington-Christchurch         

2x return services

Wellington-Nelson

1x return service

Christchurch-Dunedin

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:

Route

Services

Auckland-Christchurch           

2 x return services –Monday & Tuesday
1 x return services – Saturday, Sunday

Auckland-Wellington

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.
 

Here’s a reminder on some other things that may be useful:


Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

Here’s some 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 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.
  • What resources are available for teens and young people?         
    There is dedicated support available to help support the mental wellbeing of our rangatahi.
    A range of online and digital self-help tools and resources are available:
    Melon
    Youthline’s free call, text or web chat
    Sparklers
    There is also information on the COVID-19 website for adults, about how to help keep children safe and reassured.

Immediate safety

  • 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 talk@youthline.co.nz; Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044334, text 4334, email support@safetotalk.nz

 
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 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 – GM – 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