Business Support Resources: COVID-19

For the Government guidelines on the new COVID-19 Protection Framework and Traffic Light System - click here.

 

The South Island is currently at Traffic Light Level orange. To find out more about orange- 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.

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

It is 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.

 

 

Temporary Exemption Letter For People Waiting for their My Vaccine Pass

The Ministry of Health have allowed a temporary exemption from the requirement to produce a My Vaccine Pass to a small group of people waiting for the individual assistance needed to obtain their pass. 

The temporary exemption is a record of the individual’s request for assistance and has a unique identifier. It can be shown to businesses and organisations that require a My Vaccine Pass. It is valid until 11.59pm on 14 December 2021. If you are presented with an exemption letter, you can accept it in place of a My Vaccine Pass up until until 11.59pm on 14 December 2021.

For more information please visit the Ministry of Health website.  

 

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.

Vaccination Clinics

  • See here for a full list of vaccination centres in Dunedin and South Otago.
  • See here for a full list of vaccination centres in Central Lakes.
  • See here for a full list of vaccination centres in Wataki.
  • See here for vaccine information for businesses.

Vaccination Information for Businesses

Find out here how employers can help workers get vaccinated and get information on workplace vaccinations.

 

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.

 

Border Exceptions Process Chart

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have provided a graphic to help navigate the border exemptions process. See the graphic here.

 

Essential COVID-19 Updates: Business NZ Network Free Webinars 

COVID-19 Key Updates for Business Webinar

If you would like to find out more on updates to CVC's, mandatory vaccination and the traffic light system – then don’t miss BusinessNZ’s webinar on Wednesday, December 1 (12.30pm to 1.30pm). Business NZ will be joined by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Health and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to discuss the following:

  • The COVID-19 Protection Framework and what it means for businesses
  • Vaccine mandates – employment consequences
  • My Vaccine Pass and the NZ Verifier app
  • Risk assessments – process and rules for use

Please register here.

COVID-19 Protection Framework Webinar

View the BusinessNZ webinar held on Tuesday, 2 November to gain greater clarity on what it means for your business operating in the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. The Hon Grant Robertson, and representatives from the Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet and BusinessNZ participated in this webinar to address the complexities that arise for businesses operating under the new framework, – from people and processes to practicalities. They also responded to a live Q&A.

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.

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

Resurgence Support Payment (RSP): End Date Changes

Update: 5th Payment Open (November 12)

Applications are now open for the 5th payment of the Resurgence Support Payment (RSP). The payment is available to eligible businesses and organisations which experience a 30% decline in revenue due to the increased alert levels, in a consecutive 7-day period.

The period starts 5 November 2021 and ends immediately before all areas of New Zealand return to Alert Level 1 or are at Orange or Green under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Applications will close on the first working day that is one month after the end of the affected revenue period.

For the 5th payment, eligible businesses and organisations can apply to receive the lesser of:

  • $3,000 plus $800 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs
  • Eight times (8x) the actual revenue decline experienced by the applicant.

For more information, or to apply, visit the IRD website.

REMINDER: Applications for the first 3 payments close on December 1.

 

The recent announcement of a move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework means the Alert Level system is being replaced. This means a new approach is needed for when applications for the Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) will close. It also requires a new approach to determining the end date of the period during which a decline in revenue must occur.

For the RSP payments currently available, a business must show a 30% decline in revenue over a continuous seven-day period at the raised Alert Level compared to a typical seven-day period in the six weeks prior to 17 August 21.

For the first three RSP payments available during the current change in Alert Levels, the Government has decided the decline in revenue must happen on or before November 1.

It has also decided that people will be able to apply for payments until the first business day that is one month after that date, which is December 1.

This means:

  • For the 1st payment, the 7-day period of revenue decline must fall within 17 August and 1 November. Applications can be made up until 1 December.
  • For the 2nd payment, the 7-day period of revenue decline must fall within 8 September and 1 November. Applications can be made up until 1 December.
  • For the 3rd payment, the 7-day period of revenue decline must fall within 1 October and 1 November. Applications can be made up until 1 December.
  • For the 4th payment, the 7-day period of revenue decline can start no earlier than 22 October, and the Government did not address the end date to this period in yesterday's decisions. Note applications have been able to be made for this payment from 29 October.

REMINDER: The Government has announced that payments will be available fortnightly, from 12 November, at double the current amount, which will continue until Auckland shifts to the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Read more here.

Apply here

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme 

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.  

The Government has clarified the revenue decline test for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2 & #3 includes the effect of Alert Level 2 on businesses as well as the continuation of Alert Levels 3 and 4 from 17 August 2021.

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. 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 (e.g. IRD number, company name, bank account, employee details including name and IRD 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).

  • Earlier COVID-19 Wage Subsidy payments, and Inland Revenue’s Resurgence Support Payments, aren’t included in their revenue for the revenue decline test.

  •  Businesses can’t apply early and must wait until the end of the two-week period that they’ve received the subsidy for.

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: 22 October, 2021)

The Minister of Finance has announced the Government will increase the amount and frequency of the Resurgence Support Payment. You can see his press release at www.beehive.govt.nz
The next payment, which is available from 29 October through myIR, will remain at the current rate of $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTE. Subsequent payments will be for $3,000 plus $800 per FTE, still up to a maximum of 50 FTE. The frequency of the payments will also change. They will be available fortnightly, on 12 November, 26 November and 10 December as long as Auckland has not moved to the COVID Protection Framework.

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

Update from IRD (Posted: 10 September, 2021) 

Read the latest update on RSP payments here.

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

This 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.

 

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: 

Updates from the Ministry of Health

Moving to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System)

On November 29, Cabinet will meet to confirm the decision to move Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand, to the traffic light system. The date at which we move to the traffic light system is likely to occur soon after Cabinet meets.

Auckland and those parts of the country with lower vaccination rates will move into the new system at Red. The rest of the country will move to Orange.

Cabinet is making a number of decisions in the coming weeks to prepare for the shift to the traffic light framework. For example, Minister Little, Sepuloni and Verrall will set out how testing, contact tracing, care in the community and social support will be provided for those who get COVID. The government will also release detailed individual sector guidance for the new traffic light system. This has been worked through in detail over the course of many weeks, in consultation with different sectors.

Elimination and the alert levels were never intended as a forever strategy. High vaccination rates - now 81 percent double-dosed, up from just 23 percent three months ago - afford us the ability to change our approach and move into the next chapter of our COVID-19 response.

The traffic light system is safer than the alert levels. For example, at Alert Level 2 everyone can go into a hospitality setting, seated and separated. At Red, in the new framework, you'll also have to be vaccinated which adds an extra layer of protection. In some settings, everyone over 12 years and three months may be required by businesses to show their vaccine pass.

Auckland Boundary Restrictions to Ease Before Christmas

From 11.59pm on December 14, people will be able travel out of Auckland. To do so, they must either be fully vaccinated, or have a negative test at least 72 hours prior to departure.

People will be able to enter or leave Auckland for any reason.

This requirement to be tested or vaccinated before departing Auckland will be in place for the core summer period of December 15, 2021 until January 17, 2022. The Government have added this safety net to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the busy holiday period.

Police will perform spot checks around the southern Auckland boundary to ensure the rules are being followed. Those leaving Auckland must be able to show their vaccine pass or evidence of a negative test, within 72 hours prior to departure. Those breaking the rules will face an infringement fine of $1000.

On the northern boundary - the gateway to Northland - police will work with iwi to ensure people can move, but also that the people of Northland have confidence in the checks that are in place.

Checks for travellers departing from Auckland Airport on Air New Zealand flights will be done at airline check-in. Travellers on the Inter-Islander ferry departing Wellington for Picton may also be required to present their vaccine pass prior to travel.

The combination of checks at Auckland airport and at the Wellington inter-island ferry terminals, means that all entry points to the South Island are well-covered to stop potential spread to the region.

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.

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.

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

Find out more here.

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

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

  1. Extra copies of QR codes must be displayed in other places throughout businesses and locations that already display them at the main entrance.
  2. All QR codes must be kept in good condition and not altered to make it unclear that their purpose is for contact tracing.
  3. Official QR posters issued by the Ministry of Health must be displayed.

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: