Covid-19 Alert Level 3

17 April 2020

Covid-19 has presented challenges never faced by small and medium sized businesses in New Zealand with most businesses having to close their doors or reduce operations for at least four weeks.  Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel with a move to Alert Level 3 on the horizon.  While a reduction to Level 3 doesn’t equal business as usual, it does reduce some of the restrictions that businesses have been faced with of late.  This article considers what the landscape looks like for small and medium businesses at Level 3.
The good news is that most, but not all, businesses can start to get moving again at Level 3.  The key principle at Level 3 is safety – only those businesses that can operate safely may reopen.  All businesses must continue to take health measures to keep their workers safe and workers must work from home if they can.
The key principles as they apply to individual sectors will be expanded on by the Government in the coming days and we expect further guidance once the decision to move to Level 3 is actually made.  In the meantime however, here are some of the key takeaway points of what business life will look like at Level 3.
Workplaces must operate safely and keep one metre between workers, taking note of who is working together, limiting interaction between workers, disinfecting surfaces and maintaining high hygiene standards;
Retail and hospitality businesses may only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick-up.  If these businesses are unable to operate in this manner then they must remain closed;
Things will continue to look pretty much the same for supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations with the same restrictions and measures in place as at Level 4;
Businesses which offer services involving face to face contact or sustained close contact must remain closed.  This includes businesses such as hairdressers and house cleaning.  It is likely that these businesses will not be able to re-open until Alert Level 2.
Other in-home services can now be delivered, provided it is safe to do so.  This includes tradespeople for repairs or installations.  Two metres separation between trade people and those in the house should be maintained at all times.
As is always the case, good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette and wiping down surfaces – remains essential.
If you have any questions about what Alert Level 3 means for you and your business, or if you have concerns about whether you can operate, please reach out to the team at CR Law who will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Tom Gilchrist
Solicitor