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Covid-19 Information for Members

Covid-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of Coronavirus.

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

You can keep up with what’s happening globally here >>

Our thoughts are with our members, their families and their staff at this difficult and challenging time. This page covers an overview of the latest updates sent by email to MTA members. 

We’ve created the following additional alert pages:

Alert Level 1 Golden Rules

  1. If you're sick, stay home
  2. If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor
  3. Wash your hands
  4. Sneeze or cough into your elbow and disinfect surfaces
  5. Isolate immediately if told to by authorities
  6. If you have underlying conditions, talk with your GP about precautions
  7. Keep track of where you've been
  8. Face coverings are compulsory when using public transport or domestic flights - find out more >>
  9. Stay vigilant
  10. Be kind to others and to yourself
  11. Register for QR code posters here >> 

Latest Updates

Update 5 March 2021

This afternoon the Prime Minister announced Cabinet’s decision on the current Alert Levels.

After five consecutive days with no new cases in the community or in managed isolation, Cabinet has decided that:

  • Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 at 6am on Sunday 7 March 2021.
  • The rest of the country will move to Alert Level 1 at the same time.

Cabinet will consider moving Auckland to Alert Level 1 at the start of next weekend (13-14 March) if it's safe to do so.

Update 4 March 2021

There was a lot of noise yesterday about applications for the Government’s Covid-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021 opening today.

The comms from the Government and others on the roll-out seem to have clouded rather than clarified what’s happened. We’ve already fielded a number of enquiries from members.

We hope the following summaries are helpful.

Wage Subsidy March 2021

Applications for the Wage Subsidy March 2021 opened at 1pm today.

The payment is to support employers (or self-employed people) to pay their employees and protect jobs.

To be eligible your business must show a 40% decline in revenue by comparing a fortnight between 28 Feb and 21 March to a typical fortnight in the six weeks prior to the Alert Level change (4 Jan – 14 Feb).

Previous wage subsidies asked businesses to compare revenue periods after an Alert Level change to revenue from the same time last year. The change to a comparison of a revenue period six weeks prior to the Alert Level changes recognises that last year’s revenues are not comparable in the current Covid-19 economic environment.

The Business.govt website has a Wage Subsidy calculator that you can download to help you calculate your revenue decline.

The rules from previous renditions of the subsidy on retaining staff and passing on the subsidy remain.

You must keep evidence that the change in Alert Levels is the cause of the decline in revenue.

The support will be made in two-weekly payments for the duration of Alert Level 3 or 4 (rounded to the nearest fortnight), rather than for a fixed period.

Payments will start from Monday 8 March 2021.

You can apply on the Work and Income website >>

Resurgence Support Payment

Applications for this support payment open at 8am on Monday 8 March.

The payment is for eligible businesses that have been impacted by the Alert Level changes that started on Sunday 28 February 2021 - the most recent Alert Level change.

You will need to show a 30% drop in revenue over a seven day period compared with a typical seven day period six weeks prior to the Alert Level change.

Again, the change to a comparison of a revenue period six weeks prior to the Alert Level change recognises that last year’s revenues are not comparable in the current Covid-19 economic environment.

If you were affected by the earlier Valentine’s Day Alert Level change (14-21 Feb), you can still apply for the payment for that period, but you must do so by 22 March.

If both Alert Level changes impacted you, you can apply for support for both, as long as you meet the criteria.

The Business.govt website also has a Resurgence Support Payment Revenue calculator you can download to help you figure out your revenue decline.

You can apply on the IR website from Monday.

Note: It’s unfortunate the Resurgence Support Payment calculator and the Wage Subsidy calculator are both available on the same Business.govt web page. You can apply for both forms of support, but make sure you’re using the right calculator for your needs.

Update 2 March 2021

Financial Support at a Glance

If you're short on time and want a quick breakdown of the support payments and subsidies, then head to our Government Support page on the Toolbox. Our MTA HR Advisors have pulled together key points on the Wage Subsidy, Resurgence Support Payment, Short-term Absence Payment and the Leave Support Scheme based on calls with members. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our HR Advisors - just give us a call on 0800 00 11 44.

Update 27 February 2021

Alert Levels

This evening the Prime Minister announced that Auckland is to return to Covid-19 Alert Level 3.

The rest of New Zealand moves back to Alert Level 2. 

The change in Alert Levels takes effect at 6am on Sunday 28 February and will last for seven days.

However, the Prime Minister has asked that people start following the upgraded Alert Level procedures as soon as possible. 

The announcement comes after a new Covid-19 case was detected in the community this afternoon.

The border around Auckland will be re-established.

Businesses with workers needing to cross the Alert Level boundary near Auckland will need evidence of permitted activity or an exemption. Travel documents that were issued earlier this month remain valid.

Any business with workers that have lost their documents, or where they need to add or remove a staff member, should log back in to the system to make the changes or re-download the documents here >> 

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says workers will require evidence of permitted activity or an exemption. Documents that were issued earlier this month remain valid.

If you’re in Auckland remember:

  • Businesses cannot offer services that involve close personal contact, unless they are a supermarket, pharmacy, petrol station or hardware store providing goods to trade customers, or it is an emergency or critical situation.
  • Other businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.
Update 18 February 2021

Resurgence Support Payment

The new Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) passed by Parliament this week will be available to eligible businesses now that Auckland will be in Alert Level 2 until Monday.

The RSP is for viable and ongoing businesses or organisations with reduced revenue due to a Covid-19 Alert Level increase to Alert Level 2 or higher. 

In order to qualify for the payment, businesses must show a 30 percent drop in revenue over a seven day period compared with a typical similar revenue period in the six weeks prior to the Alert Level rise.

Or if it is a seasonal business applying, they must show a 30 percent revenue drop compared with a similar week the previous year.

The payment is available to businesses nationally if they can meet the eligibility criteria, not just those in Auckland.

That decision recognises that many businesses rely on Auckland for revenue so it is only fair that the payment is available nationally.

The payment includes a core per-business rate of $1,500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs. That is a maximum payment of $21,500.

Businesses can find out more about the RSP on the Inland Revenue website.

Applications can be made from Tuesday 23 February 2021.

Other support available to businesses includes the Leave Support Scheme, which helps businesses to help pay workers told to self-isolate because of Covid-19, and the Short-Term Absence Payment, which covers eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a Covid-19 test result.

If your business is identified as a location of interest

When cases of Covid-19 are identified in the community, the Ministry of Health prepares a list of “locations of interest”.

A location of interest is a place where a confirmed or probable Covid-19 infected person has visited.

Assuming this situation will arise again in the future, here’s some information that may be of assistance.

If your business is identified as a location of interest, you will be contacted by a public health official and given instructions on what you should do.

These instructions will cover identifying staff who were on duty when the Covid-19 infected person visited, any isolation requirement along with details of when these staff should get tested for Covid-19.

The general rule of thumb is that staff need to stay isolated at home until they receive a negative test result.

Your business will be listed on the Ministry of Health website and identified as a location of interest. Information listed on this website should be followed as it will include specific information in relation to when staff or customers need to get tested for Covid-19.

The public health official will also advise on what you should tell your customers and may require you to carry out cleaning at your business.

In some cases, they may require you to close your business.

In both these instances we strongly recommend that you get these instructions confirmed in writing or via email.

You may be contacted by the media for comment on how your business is coping as a location of interest, so take a moment to think about who will respond for you and what they might say.

Update 15 February 2021

Travel across boundaries

The Government has announced a new process for travel across Alert Level boundaries during a resurgence of Covid-19.

During a regional resurgence, travel into or out of an affected region may be limited with a Covid-19 Alert Level Boundary.

If you need to travel into or out of the Auckland Region, which is currently at Alert Level 3, make sure you’re familiar with the details.

Refer to this map that clearly shows the boundaries of the Auckland Region >>

Register for travel

Businesses inside the Auckland Alert Level Boundary can now register for travel documents using an online register.

This Business Travel Register allows businesses to request and receive travel documents for workers who need to cross an Alert Level boundary.

For permitted travel and special exemptions, the Register will produce a business travel document for each worker. The document can then be used at checkpoints, making passage much quicker and simpler for both workers and Police.

The Register uses the New Zealand Business Number that most companies already have, but can be used without one. It will inform businesses if the type of travel they have requested is permitted, and sends automated emails to update them on the process – such as downloading travel documents.

Any information that is entered into the Register is confidential. The personal information provided in the request (limited to employee names) will only be used for the purpose of approving travel documentation requests.

Find out more information on this process >>

You can access the Business Travel Register by logging in or signing up to Business Connect.

If you are getting your vehicle inspector to travel, then there is a sub-category for performing work for Waka Kotahi, so you should be able to apply under that. We believe that this register should also cover automotive technicians, tyre services, and vehicle recovery. At the moment, it is not clear that it does so we are working with the Government to ensure this is captured.

Employees not granted travel exemption

Should your employee(s) not be granted a travel exemption and cannot come to work, you will still need to pay employees their full wages.

Remember, you cannot force employees to take annual leave. The only exception to this would be if they have entitlement leave (more than 20 days annual leave) and you will still need to give them 14 days’ notice you are requiring them to take it.