Tuesday, 5th October, 2021

Dear Member,

 COVID-19 – Update 55 – 5 October 2021

Here’s the latest update from the Southern Lakes Business Response & Recovery team.
The Prime Minister has announced that Auckland will remain in Alert Level 3 but some restrictions will be eased from 11.59pm today. This will be a three-stage roadmap to easing restrictions, with each stage scheduled a week apart, subject to the government reviewing it prior.  
Parts of the Waikato including Hamilton city remains at the original Alert Level 3 and will not follow the three-stage roadmap process whilst the Government and MoH wait for further information. 
Cabinet has agreed the rest of New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2 - with the only change being the 100 person limit in hospitality venues removed. The requirement to ensure patrons are seated and separated remains.
At the end of the three stages, the Government stated the plan is to then move to a national framework that reflects a more highly vaccinated population, allowing the ability to deal with riskier settings such as large-scale events with the use of vaccine certificates.
The Prime Minister emphasized that even with the changes in the tiered level 3, the financial support, with both the wage subsidy and the resurgence support payment will continue, as long as part of the country is in a form of Level 3 and 2 respectively. 

What's New

Immigration NZ - 2021 Resident Visa
Immigration New Zealand has announced a one-off residence pathway - 2021 Resident Visa. This will be available to people who have already submitted a resident visa application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work (RfW) category and those who have submitted an SMC Expression of Interest, as well as other work visa holders who may not have been eligible through the current skilled residence pathways. Applications open in two phases – the first round opens on 1 December 2021.

The 2021 Resident Visa will be available to most holders of work-related visas – including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and Post Study Work visas – and their immediate family members.

Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Payment
The Government has approved a fourth round of COVID-19 wage subsidy payment. Auckland remaining at Alert Level 3 triggers another fortnight of wage subsidy payment for eligible businesses, applications opened last Friday.
  • Eligibility is determined by a drop in revenue caused by any part of the country being in Alert Level 3 or 4.
  • Applications for the fourth COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 are currently open and will close at 11.59pm Thursday 14 October.
Another round of the Resurgence Support Payment is also available from Friday 8 October. More information is available on the Work and Income site.

Changes to QR code display requirements
The Government has introduced some changes to the Alert Level Order to improve ease of access to QR codes for customers visiting a business or public facilities.

People in control of workplaces:
  1. Additional copies of a COVID-19 QR code will need to be displayed in other places throughout businesses and locations (which are already required to display them). This is in addition to an already required QR code displayed at the main entrance.
  2. QR code posters are now also required to kept in a good condition, this limits the risk that scanning doesn’t take place if posters are faded, damaged or difficult to scan in on.
  3. The QR code must not be altered in a way that makes it unclear that it has been issued by the NZ Government for the purposes of contact tracing. Businesses and locations must use the official COVID-19 QR code posters issued by the Ministry of Health. This also ensures people know the QR code they are scanning links to the COVID tracer app and is for contact tracing purposes.
Public transport operators:
  1. Additional copies of QR codes must be displayed. This is in addition to the existing requirement to display a copy in a prominent place on or inside any vehicle (vehicles with 5 or fewer seats, including taxis and ride shares are exempt from needing to display additional copies).
  2. QR code posters are required to be in good condition.
  3. QR codes must not be altered in a way that makes it unclear that it has been issued by the NZ Government for the purposes of contact tracing.
Record keeping and contact tracing | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)
Get your QR code poster | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)
Air New Zealand international flights
Air New Zealand has announced a ‘no jab no fly’ policy which will come into effect from 1 February 2022 - the airline will require customers travelling anywhere on its international network to be fully vaccinated.


Take Stock Support
The Business Response Group (BRG) has a resilience initiative available called Take Stock which involves 3 free counselling sessions for any SME business owner in the Queenstown Lakes. Confidential services are offered through Benestar. To access the service contact Benestar (0800 360 364 / counsellingsupportnz@benestar.com) and quote ‘Take stock’.

COVID Clean Approved Assessment
The COVID Clean Approved self-assessment tool has been developed by Qualmark exclusively for its licence holders. The assessment offers information and checklists compiled by Qualmark, derived from the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 guidelines, to help businesses adhere to these protocols. By completing the COVID Clean Approved assessment, operators can demonstrate to visitors and staff that they have an awareness of COVID-19 government guidelines. Additionally, COVID Clean Approved is formally recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). More information here

Useful resources for more information