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Urgent Covid-19 update – New Zealand moves back down to Levels 2 & 1

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While our hope is to get our businesses back trading at Alert Level 1 as soon as possible, we are glad to see that the Government is looking at ways to combine stopping the spread of the virus with the safe opening of our businesses.

While earlier in the day the Government confirmed two new cases of Covid-19 linked to the existing February Auckland community outbreak, after close to 72 hours at Alert Levels 3 and 2 they have formed the view that the outbreak is relatively contained and moved to lower the Alert Levels from midnight 17 February. Cabinet will review the new Alert Levels on Monday.

The current Alert Levels are:

  • Auckland is at Alert Level 2
  • The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1

We know that it is still a very challenging situation for businesses in Auckland facing more time at Alert Level 2. What is now imperative is that the Government looks to start financial support of affected businesses from the first day of any level change. The constant last minute closures and restrictions on trading are no longer workable – placing an untenable financial and emotional strain on our business owners and staff. As we know, three+ days of restrictions generally means weeks of cancellations and subdued trading, as well as stock and staff costs. The growing disparity between those that are able to operate their businesses profitably in the current climate, and those that cannot, can no longer be ignored. We will continue to advocate for changes on behalf of all members.

With up to 8 days at restrictive Alert Levels in Auckland, and the rest of the country, the new Resurgence Support Payment will become accessible for some and we will provide further information on this new payment and details on how to apply as soon as more information is released. The Resurgence Support Payment will be available to help businesses directly affected when there’s a move to Alert Level 2 or above for a week or more, as we will have as a result of the current Alert Level changes. The payment includes 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  7-day period will be eligible (under urgency this week the Government introduced a Bill to reduce the eligibility period from 14 days to seven).


A reminder of the golden rules under Alert Level 2:

The Restaurant Association guidelines for operating at Level 2 are available here.

For hospitality business the key measures for operating at Level 2 are to follow the 3 S’s – seated, separated and single server.

Restaurants, cafes & bars

  • The overall limit on numbers is 100.
  • Multiple groups are allowed provided they are in separate ‘defined spaces’ and there is no mingling of people between the different spaces (including in common areas).
  • 1 metre physical distancing is required between groups and there must be at least 1 metre between tables.
  • Only one server is to serve at any table, to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Records must be kept to enable contact tracing for workers and customers.
  • Customers must be seated at a table except where using the toilet, entering, paying or departing, or, ordering and collecting food and drinks (at unlicensed premises)
  • Ordering and collecting food and drinks at the counter is allowed for nonlicensed premises only, provided that physical distancing of 1 metre is maintained, so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Ordering and collecting food and drinks at the counter is not permitted at bars or other licensed premises.

Takeaways

  • Takeaway food can be ordered from the counter of any establishment, irrespective of whether patrons are able to dine-in or not.
  • 1 metre physical distancing is required.
  • To reduce lines and queuing you could encourage pre-ordering online, over the phone or via an app

Venues generally – Social Gatherings

  • If someone hires a hospitality venue for a social gathering, the gatherings rules apply, not the hospitality ones.

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