Business Support Resources: COVID-19

Auckland is in COVID-19 Alert Level 4, the rest of New Zealand is in  COVID-19 Alert Level 2

 

For the Government guidelines on life at Alert Level 2 click here. For guidance on business at Alert Level 2 click here.

 

Useful Websites and Resources

Here are the links to the key official government sites for advice on managing the impacts of COVID-19:

A range of advice, help, or support if you need it can be found here.

What you need to do at Alert Level 2 can be found here.


COVID-19 Business Helpline

A fully funded COVID-19 Business Helpline is available for all businesses in the South Island - so please do contact this service if you need help: 0800 50 50 96

Wellbeing Support

Need to Talk? 1737 is free to call or txt from any landline or mobile phone, 24-7. This number will connect you with mental health and addictions professionals in the National Telehealth Service.

 

Key Links to other information on this page:

 

Requirement of Businesses to Ensure Scanning/Recordkeeping

At midnight on Tuesday, 7 September 2021, it will become compulsory for many public-facing businesses to have QR scanning or another record-keeping system for the use of every person entering their premises. 

Information regarding this requirement can be found here.

Read the latest recordkeeping FAQ sheet here.

Read how to display your QR code posters here.


Vaccination Information

National Vaccination Rollout

The COVID-19 vaccination has been rolled out throughout New Zealand with everyone over the age of 12 years now eligible for the vaccine. Please check the Government's COVID-19 website for the latest information on eligibility and how to book your vaccine.

There are a number of vaccination stations throughout Otago. For information on where to find your local vaccine clinic please click here.

You can book online or by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline: 0800 28 29 26.  Alternatively you could contact your local vaccine clinic.

Southern District Health Board: Workplace Vaccinations

The Southern District Health Board are at a stage in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout where they are inviting workplaces to get in touch with them if they are yet to be vaccinated and need support. Find out more here.

 

Health & Wellbeing Webinar with John Kirwan

On Friday, 10 September Westpac’s Andrew Bashford (Acting GM, Institutional and Business Banking) joined Sir John Kirwan for a live discussion on looking after your mental health and wellbeing as you deal with the uncertainty and challenges facing your business in the current COVID-19 situation (with a particular focus on the hospitality, retail and tourism industries).

To view the webinar and to access the support and guidance resources - click here.

 

Essential COVID-19 Updates: Business NZ Network Free Webinars 

Operating at Alert Level 2

The NZ Business Network hosted a webinar on Tuesday, 7 September that brought together a panel of experts to address key considerations for business as the country prepares to move to a new Alert Level 2.

Register to watch the webinar here.

Managing Cashflow Through COVID-19

The NZ Business Network joined with BDO to provide a practical and informative webinar on Wednesday, 8 September on surviving and thriving through the changing Alert Levels, and understanding and monitoring your business’s cashflow. Topics included: Understanding the Cash Conversion Cycle, avoiding the seven causes of poor cashflow, and implementing four key actions for improving cashflow

Register to watch the webinar here.

Operating at Alert Level 3

On Tuesday, 31 August Business Network NZ hosted a free webinar, to provide greater clarity on what it means for your business operating at Alert Level 3.

Register to watch the recording of the webinar here.

Economic Response and Financial Support

On Friday, 20 August Business NZ offered a free webinar to provide an essential COVID-19 Update.  The webinar provided insight and guidance from experts on the economic response and financial support available to businesses along with top tips for prioritising mental health and supporting employee wellbeing at this time.

Register to watch the recording of the webinar here.

Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Support Payment

On Thursday, 26 August Business NZ delivered a free webinar to provide greater clarity on financial support available to businesses through the Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Support Payment (RSP). Representatives from MSD, IR and EMA provided a brief update, addressing the common queries received from businesses on eligibility, requirements and obligations of the schemes, plus legal obligations as well as responding to a live Q&A.

Register to watch the recording of the webinar here.


Financial Support Available - August 2021

Update from MSD (Posted: 1 September, 2021)

Read the latest update on Wage Subsidy applications here.


COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme August 2021

Update from NZ Government (Posted: 13 September, 2021): The Government has clarified the revenue decline test for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2 includes the effect of Alert Level 2 on businesses as well as the continuation of Alert Levels 3 and 4 from 17 August 2021

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) helps eligible businesses to continue paying employees and keep them on, and available to all eligible businesses in New Zealand, even if they are operating, while any part of the country is in Alert Levels 3 or 4. This recognises the impact Alert Levels 3 and 4 can have on businesses in the rest of the country. To be eligible, businesses will need to meet the 40% revenue decline test and other criteria outlined in the declaration

Please note that this information is a guide only. The Wage Subsidy declaration on the Work & Income website has full details of eligibility criteria and obligations and prevails over any other information.

  • A third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications On Friday, September 17 @ 9.00am. The revenue test period for this payment will be September 14 to 27. Please note, this is available for those in Auckland, but also those around the country who can establish that their revenue loss is a result of Alert Level 3 or 4.
  • Applications can now be made for the new Wage Subsidy August 2021 # 2, 14 days after the first application, even if you are waiting on the first application to be granted.
  • The new Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2 opened on Friday, 3 September @ 9.00am and is available until 11.59pm on Thursday, 16 September, 2021.
  • Applications can be made through the Work & Income website.
  • The subsidy is for two weeks, and the payment rate is $600 a week (full-time) and $359 a week (part-time).

  • To ensure applications get processed as quickly as possible, it’s important the information provided matches what is held by Inland Revenue
    (eg IR number, company name, bank account, employee details including name and IR number).
  • Applicants should check they’re applying for the correct payment. Some businesses apply for the Leave Support Scheme or the Short Term Absence Payment, when they meant to apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021. (Businesses can only receive one of these three COVID-19 payments for the same employee at the same time)

Eligibility Criteria

  • The eligibility criteria are similar to the March 2021 scheme, including employer obligations and revenue test.
  • It is important applicants read all the information, including the declaration they are agreeing to, carefully and make sure they comply.
  • The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy is available to all eligible businesses in New Zealand, even if they are operating, while any part of the country is in Alert Level 3 or 4. 
  • The revenue test is a decrease of at least 40%. This means:
    • Businesses need to have had (or expect to have) a minimum 40% decline in revenue in the 14-days since the Alert Level escalation, when compared with their revenue during a typical 14-day period in the six weeks immediately before the Alert Level escalation.
    • Businesses with highly seasonal revenue can compare their revenue to 17 – 30 August 2020 or 2019, if they can show that the seasonal nature of their business makes it harder for them to meet the revenue test using the default comparison period.
    • The decline in revenue must be caused by the effect of the national wide Alert Level increase on 17 August 2021 on their businesses.

After the Payment is Made

  • If the revenue decline doesn’t eventuate the business needs to repay the subsidy.
  • Businesses will need to prepare and keep evidence to support their declaration (but they don’t need to provide this on application)
  • MSD will complete background checks and target integrity activity. This means a sample of applicants will be asked for proof of revenue decline.
  • If the Government decides to extend the wage subsidy, businesses will need to make another application. At this stage the wage subsidy is only for two weeks.


Resurgence Support Payment

Update from IRD (Posted: 10 September, 2021) Read the latest update on RSP payments here.

Applications are now open for the Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) 

Businesses, organisations and self-employed people affected by the recent increase to Alert Level 4 can now apply online for the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) – and is intended to help businesses with costs such as rent or fixed costs during higher alert levels.

The one-off payment is available to any business in New Zealand that meets the criteria. To qualify applicants must experience at least a 30% decline in revenue over seven days as a result of the increase in Alert Levels, as well as other eligibility criteria. Businesses can apply for the RSP at the same time as the Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The payment includes a core per business rate of $1,500, plus $400 per employee, up to a total of 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs) which is a maximum payment of $21,500. Businesses with more than 50 FTEs can still apply but cannot get more than the maximum payment. The scheme will be available until all of New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1 for one month.

Inland Revenue encourages those applying to ensure the accuracy of the information they provide, as if it isn’t correct it will cause delays in processing.

Find out more information on the Resurgence Support Payment and how to apply.

Update to RSP (Posted: 9 September, 2021): 

Businesses and organisations that’ve been in operation for at least one month prior to the Alert Level increase on 17 August 2021 are now eligible to apply for the Resurgence Support Payment. The original criteria was six months.

This change in criteria applies to the current round of the RSP and any future ones, meaning businesses which have been in operation since 17 July 2021 may now be eligible for this RSP. You will still need to meet all the other criteria for the RSP.

If you applied under the current RSP activation and were previously declined because you had been in business less than six months, we will contact you to let you know you may now be eligible and can submit a new application.

NOTE: This is not a new round of the Resurgence Support Payment – but it means some businesses who were not previously eligible for this round may now be eligible.

Applications can be made in your myIR account. For more information about eligibility here.  

 

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

Organisations and small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Applications are open until 31 December 2023. Inland Revenue encourages those applying to ensure the accuracy of the information they provide, as if it isn’t correct it will cause delays in processing.

Find out more information about the Small Business Cash flow Loan Scheme and how to apply.


Short Term Absence Payment

The short-term absence payment is available once per 30 days and is a payment of $350.00 for employees who must miss work due to a COVID-19 test and cannot work from home. The rate will increase to $359.00 from Tuesday 24 August 2021.  You cannot receive this payment and the wage subsidy for the same time period.

Find out more information about the Short Term Absence Payment and how to apply.


COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can't work from home. You cannot receive this payment and the wage subsidy for the same time period.

Find out how to apply for the Leave Support Scheme.


Financial Support Updates

Please keep an eye on the following websites for updates:

 

Updates and News: August/Sept 2021

Latest Dunedin Flight Update from Air New Zealand (Posted: 7 September, 2021)

For September 8 to 14: Wellington to Dunedin (15 x return services), Christchurch to Dunedin (24 x return services)

For more information about flights and/or to make a booking, please visit the Air New Zealand website.

Otago Regional Council: Public Transport Update (Posted: 3 September, 2021)

The latest update on services at Alert Level 3 (and what Alert Level 2 will look like) can be found here.

Orbus' COVID-19 webpage can be found here.

  • Dunedin: Facebook or call 0800 672 8736
  • Queenstown: Facebook or call 0800 672 8778

Central Otago REAP: Community Connection Service (Posted: 3 September, 2021)

If you are in Central Otago and would like to know what support is available to you - find out more here.

Update from Immigration NZ (Posted: 1 September, 2021)

Read the latest update from Immigration NZ here.

Petition: Support Business with a Weekly Subsidy (Posted: 31 August, 2021)

More information about this petition can be found here.

Otago Chamber of Commerce Acting CEO Channel 39 Interview (Posted: 27 August,2021)

See Nicky's interview with Channel 39 here

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers COVID-19 Subsidy August 2021 (Posted: 26 August, 2021)

Read the FAQ sheet from Business NZ's Essential COVID-19 Update Webinar: Economic Response & Financial Support here.

Small Businesses: Mandatory Scanning and Manually Signing-In (Posted: 26 August, 2021)

Read Business Mentors CEO, Sarah Trotman's opinion piece here.

COVID-19 Financial Support Demystified (Posted: 26 August, 2021)

Need help to get your head around the Government's COVID-19 financial support? Read Queenstown Chamber of Commerce CEO, Ruth Stoke's guide and summary here.

Business South CE Newstalk ZB Interview (Posted: 24 August, 2021)

Listen to Mike Collins' interview on Newstalk ZB here.

Prepare For Mandatory Scanning or Record-Keeping Once Alert Levels Change (Posted: 23 August, 2021)

Businesses are alerted that 7 days after the next change in alert levels, there will be a requirement to undertake mandatory scanning or record-keeping on premises. 

The requirement is likely to apply to most businesses and events, with the possible exception of supermarkets and some other retail outlets.

Current guidelines can be found here.

Union Access to Workplaces During Lockdown (Updated: 24 August, 2021)

Find out more here.

Childcare Available for Alert Level 4 Workers (Posted: 23 August, 2021)

More information can be found here.

Face Covering Update (Posted: 23 August, 2021)

Read the latest guidelines here.

Receiving Freight (De-Vanning) (Posted: 18 August, 2021)

Businesses can open just to receive goods at Alert Level 4. Find out the details under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021 here. Further COVID-19 updates can be found on the Ministry of Transport website.

Dunedin City Council COVID-19 Update (Posted: 20 August, 2021)

Read the DCC's August 20 media release here.

Otago Southland Employers Association Covid-19 Article (Posted 19 August, 2021)

Read OSEA Legal Team Manager, David Browne's COVID-19 article here.

Update from Dunedin Airport (Posted: 19 August, 2021)

Read the latest update from Dunedin Airport here

Update from Inland Revenue for Businesses (Posted: 19 August, 2021)

Read the latest update from IRD for businesses here.

 

Other Support Available


Flexi-Wage Expansion to Support New Zealanders Back into Work

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni have announced a significant expansion to the Government’s Flexi-wage initiative, which will see up to 40,000 New Zealanders supported into work. The changes significantly increase the average amount a business can access to hire a worker, and scale up the number of out of work New Zealanders the scheme will reach. Read more here

Flexi wage is an employment programme that helps job seekers get a job and the skills needed to do that job.

Find out more information about the flexiwage and how to apply.

 

Business Cashflow and Tax Measures

Inland Revenue has information on a range of measures that can help businesses as they recover.

Read more about the tax relief and income assistance available.

 

Links to Councils 

Dunedin City Council Click here 

Waitaki District Council Click here 

Central Otago District Council Click here

Clutha District Council Click here 

Otago Regional Council Click here 

 

NZ COVID Tracer

Businesses are strongly encouraged to use the Ministry of Health NZ COVID Tracer mobile app  so that if any new cases of COVID-19 are reported, any contacts can be easily traced.

The NZ COVID Tracer allows New Zealanders to create a digital diary of the places they’ve been, by scanning QR codes displayed at these locations. This helps log and track where people have visited and who they have come in contact with.

Businesses can register and download unique QR code posters for each of their premises here

Using the app and downloading the posters  is voluntary, but it helps contact tracing become faster and more effective, which is an essential part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

Reminder to everyone to turn on Bluetooth tracing and scan QR codes wherever you go!

Rapid and efficient contact tracing is one of the most important tools we have to find COVID-19 and stamp it out. Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the NZ COVID Tracer app and remember to keep scanning QR codes — both are important for contact tracing. 

 

Redundancy/Employment Support

Unfortunately there are a number of businesses that are needing to restructure at this time, some businesses are having to "mothball" their activities, and others are simply having to close shop.  The Ministry of Social Development is aware of the challenges facing people in this situation and have put together some resources & information for people facing redundancy or unemployment.

 

Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace

The Otago Chamber of Commerce has worked together with Southern Health to produce an information resource pack for businesses.  The pack includes: