Friday, 22nd October, 2021

Dear Member,

COVID-19 – Update 56 – Friday 22 October 2021


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

The next stage of the COVID-19 response plan was announced at 10.00am today, providing a pathway out of lockdown, giving vaccinated New Zealanders more freedom, and not relying on lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading.

Once 90% of eligible New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and protected (across all DHB’s), this new framework will be introduced.

The COVID-19 Protection Framework introduces a new ‘traffic-light’ 3-level approach to managing COVID-19 in the community:

  • Green = Limited transmission
  • Orange = Community transmission
  • Red = Action needed to protect health system
The framework is more flexible than the current Alert Level system given businesses that only open to vaccinated customers pose a lower risk. We can move up colour levels when needed to control an outbreak.

Public health measures
Testing, contact tracing and isolation will continue as key tools to minimise any spread of the virus.

Localised lockdowns will still be an option if there is a rapid growth in cases. There may still be a need to use wider lockdowns, similar to the measures in Alert Level 3 or 4. 

To shift between levels, government will consider:
  • vaccination coverage
  • capacity of the health and disability system
  • testing, contact tracing and case management capacity, and
  • the transmission of COVID-19 within the community, including its impact on key populations
More information will be released in late November.

Vaccine certificate requirements
Requiring a vaccination certificate will be optional for many locations. There will be some higher-risk settings where they will be a requirement in order to open to the public.

At all levels, businesses, retail, and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people.

Businesses, events, organisations, community, and a range of sectors may legally choose to implement a vaccination entry requirement for customers.

If a business, organisation or service does not wish to request proof of vaccine, they will have to operate with strict limits on capacity and space requirements. They may need to close in Orange and/or Red levels.

Full details and specifics on the new Covid19 Protection framework can be found here.

 

Increase in business support


 

The COVID-19 Protection Framework will allow us to open up internationally
  • This is the next step on the pathway to reopening our borders and reconnecting people and businesses with the world.
  • High vaccination levels mean we will not have to rely so much on a tight border to keep cases out.
  • People will be able to isolate at their home or accommodation, reducing our need to rely on MIQ.
Next Steps
  • Late-October: Further details provided on the implementation of COVID-19 Vaccination certificates, including any primary legislation to enable CVCs to be used as anticipated.
  • Mid-November: Further details developed on progress for the transition plan for Auckland and the rest of NZ. 
  • Throughout November: 
  • Further advice developed on new testing, tracing and isolation strategies.
  • Further advice developed on potential new approach to economic supports. 
  • Further work on a revised approach to welfare and community-based supports, including food and other essential wellbeing provisions. 
  • Ongoing: Work continues in operational readiness for a switch to the new approach and its new implementation. 
Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) changes
Minister Robertson announced changes to the RSP effective from 12 November. The main changes are:
  • Payments will be made fortnightly. 
  • Payments will increase to $3000 per business and $800 per FTE, up to 50 FTEs. This will make the maximum fortnightly payment $43,000.

The enhanced RSP will be available until Auckland moves into the new framework. 

Wage Subsidy
The Wage Subsidy will continue to be available on the current criteria while areas of the country are still in Alert Level 3.