The Government has announced its plan for how it will deal with possible community cases over the summer period.
We are very happy that the Government has listened to our calls for action, which we presented to them recently through our alternative ‘Alert Level framework’. To have this pro-active communication of the measure that will be in place at heightened alert levels will hopefully help put your minds at ease and allow for future planning if there were to be a COVID-19 resurgence.
COVID-19 Resurgence Plan
The Government’s outlined approach will be to respond quickly, managing any community cases lead by New Zealand’s elimination strategy for COVID-19.
- Government agencies have worked closely with local Government, iwi and community leaders as well as Civil Defence and Emergency Management and private sector to ensure a fully coordinated response.
- The health system is standing ready and supply chains are stocked. On call personnel will be available.
Extensive contingency plans are in place, developed around 3 broad scenarios.
COVID-19 Business Continuity Payments
The Government aims to provide certainty to businesses and workers about what support will be available in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.
A new Resurgence Support Payment is being introduced to help businesses directly affected when there’s a move to Alert Level 2 or above for a week or more. This is the type of targeted assitance we have been asking for all along and hope it goes a way to help pay fixed costs for those affected.
“This recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when we step up an Alert Level to follow public health advice. The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders.” – Grant Robertson
The payment would include a core per business rate of $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs ($21,500). Firms that experience a 30% drop in revenue over a 14-day period will be eligible.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
Whether there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels three and four a wage subsidy scheme will be put into place. The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been very effective in keeping people in work so far with more than $14 billion paid out to protect 1.8 million jobs.
A New Short-term Absence Payment will also be introduced to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result. This will be a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice.
Cabinet has also asked the Minister of Justice to revisit options on future commercial tenancy negotiation support and this will be discussed by Cabinet early next year.