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:
Update 14 August 2020
Covid-19 Alert Levels
This evening the Prime Minister announced Cabinet’s decision regarding the Alert Levels that took effect on Wednesday 12 August.
Cabinet has determined that the current Alert Levels will remain in place until 11.59pm on Wednesday 26 August: Auckland remains at Alert Level 3 the rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2. This means the current restrictions will be in place for 14 days in total – the same length of time as the Covid-19 incubation period.
There will be a review of the levels on Friday 21 August.
Support for Business
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced an “in principle” decision to extend the wage subsidy to support businesses and protect jobs
The extension will be available nationwide.
The extension will be available to businesses that have already finished receiving the subsidy, as long as they meet the criteria, and it will cover the period that the current Level 3 restrictions stay in place.
The Government will also modify the Covid-19 Sick Leave Scheme to make it more accessible.
Details of these moves are being finalised over the weekend and will be announced on Monday.
We will provide an update to members on Monday as soon as more information is available.
Operating at Alert Level 3 (and 2)
A reminder that businesses can open at Alert Level 3 if the workplace can operate safely in line with public health guidance. Links to Alert Level 2 and 3 are available at the top of this page.
Update 13 August 2020
Displaying the QR Code Poster
The Government has announced that from 11:59am on Wednesday 19 August all businesses must display a NZ Covid-19 Tracer QR code at each site. Many MTA members will have already organised posters for their sites. If you haven’t, here’s what you need to do.
Up to a maximum of 20 sites?
If you have one to 20 sites you can create a poster for each site using the self-service webform. You will need a valid New Zealand driver licence to use this service.
You need to create a separate poster for each of your sites but can print as many copies of each poster as you need. Print your posters in A4 and in colour (if possible).
The webform is pretty straightforward and the Ministry of Health has produced a short video on how to create a QR code poster.
Note: The video was produced before yesterday’s announcement so don’t be misled by the opening commentary saying businesses are “encouraged” to use the posters. It is mandatory for businesses to display the posters from 11:59am on Wednesday 19 August.
More than 20 sites?
If you have more than 20 sites or do not have a driver licence you can email a completed template to the Ministry of Health. Download the template here >> (Scroll down to the section headed Using the Ministry of Health template if you have more than 20 locations.)
Displaying your poster(s)
Make sure to put your posters on display in prominent locations next to every entrance. If you can, place a poster on the left-hand side of your front window or entrance, with the top approximately 130cm from the ground. The key thing is to make it easy for people to reach without creating an obstruction.
Try not to place your posters on sliding or revolving doors, in narrow or hard-to-see areas, in places with high glare, or in locations that are too high or hard to reach.
Covid-19 Financial Support Tool
A reminder that the Government’s Covid-19 website now features a simple online tool that businesses can use to determine what financial support they can access.
The tool will take you, step by step, through a series of questions to understand your personal circumstances:
- your work status (e.g. employer)
- your situation (e.g. your business is unable to operate)
- whether your workplace has reduced business and revenue.
The tool will then tell you what financial help and support you can access, and where you can apply or find more information.
Details of all the various forms of financial support for businesses can be found on the Covid-19 Financial Support webpage >>
Got questions? Call the Covid-19 business helpline:
- North Island 0800 500 362
- South Island 0800 505 096.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has advised it has allowed the re-inspection period to be extended for WoF and CoF (currently 28 days for in-service) and entry certification (currently 21 days from initial inspection) with a ‘stop clock’ system where there is an active Alert Level 3 or 4 in place.
This means the clock stops with the introduction of Alert Level 3 or 4, and the clock restarts again when Alert Level 2 or 1 is reached again.
If a vehicle had seven days left for a recheck when the clock stopped, then the customer has seven days to present the vehicle for a recheck starting on the first day of Level 2 or 1.
Waka Kotahi has also created a Frequently Asked Questions for Alert Level 3 page on its website that may be of assistance to members.
The move back up the Alert Levels is stressful for all of us, as well as our families, staff and customers.
Remember that as an MTA member you and your family, and your employees and their families, have free access to the EAP Counselling Service.
EAP can help with a wide range of issues including stress and pressure at home or work, anxiety, budgeting and financial help.
The service is available 24/7 and completely confidential. MTA simply pays the bill. Accessing the service is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Call 0800 327 669 (available 24/7)
- Press 2
- Tell them you’re an MTA member.
You can find out more about EAP on the Toolbox.
Cabinet will meet tomorrow to determine whether the current Alert Levels are retained or changed.
The decision will be determined by what is known by that time on the extent of the new outbreak, the containment of known chains of transmission and whether the source of infection has been found.
But based on today's news that 13 more cases have been identified in Auckland, one would have to be wildly optimistic to expect any reduction in the short-term.
We will continue to update MTA members as quickly as possible as news breaks.
Update 12 August 2020
Covid-19 MTA Member Update
By now you’ll be aware that the Government announced New Zealand’s Alert Levels will change at 12 noon today - Wednesday 12 August – after four cases of community transmission were identified in Auckland.
This is the news we all desperately didn’t want to get, but your MTA is here to support you.
So what do the changes mean for you?
Auckland members – moving to Alert Level 3
At 12 noon today, the Auckland Region will move to Alert Level 3 (Restrict). This is where community transmission might be happening and new clusters may emerge but can be controlled through testing and contact tracing.
The Auckland region is defined as Pukekohe to Wellsford.
At this stage, Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 for at least three days, until midnight Friday, 14 August. This will give the Government time to assess the situation and gather information, including contact tracing, to find out more about how these cases arose.
The Government's Covid-19 website has been updated with information on the Auckland transition.
The important thing right now is to keep yourself, your staff and your customers safe.
At Alert Level 3:
- Businesses are able to trade, but there should be no physical interaction with customers
- Customers cannot come onto your premises with the exception of service stations
- Your business must be contactless
- Businesses should maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing (2m with customers, 1m with staff), hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces
- All businesses are encouraged to use alternative ways of working if possible
- If workers have symptoms of Covid-19, they should stay home.
- If you’re open for business you’ll need to put up Covid-19 hygiene posters again.
You should also organise fresh copies of your business' QR code poster.
You can see the previous advice we’ve provided to members on operating at Alert Level 3 on these pages or in the Toolbox. We’re currently reviewing and updating this information but the principles and guidance will still be relevant.
MTA events in Auckland
We had two MTA events scheduled for this week - Red Cross First Aid in Grafton today and Red Cross First Aid in Manukau tomorrow. These have both been cancelled.
Our next Auckland event is scheduled for 18 August. At this stage we’ll wait for Friday’s Alert Level announcement before making a decision on what happens with this and subsequent events.
Rest of New Zealand – moving to Alert Level 2
At 12 noon today the rest of New Zealand, excluding Auckland, will move to Alert Level 2 (Reduce). We will remain in Alert Level 2 until midnight Friday, 14 August.
At Alert Level 2 the disease is contained, but there is still a risk of community transmission.
Businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which include physical distancing and record keeping.
You can see the advice of life at Alert Level 2 on the Government’s Covid-19 website. You can see the previous advice we’ve provided to members on operating at Alert Level 2 on these pages or the Toolbox. We’re currently reviewing and updating this information but the principles and guidance will still be relevant.
MTA National Office
At Alert Level 2, the MTA National Office is open for business.
Staff will work in the office on a rostered basis to ensure we meet the 1m physical distancing requirements, with others to work from home.
A word from the HR team
During the raised Alert Levels, remember that employment law still exists. You cannot reduce wages or force employees to take annual leave without their agreement, and we strongly recommend you have any such agreement in writing.
The Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for workers who can’t come into work or work from home because MoH guidelines recommend they stay at home due to health conditions.
The Wages Subsidy Extension in its current form, is still available until the end of August, if you meet the criteria. We are waiting to see if the Government will put any other subsidy assistance in place and will update you on the outcome.
Upcoming WoF courses
In light of what’s happened we’re reviewing the WoF training programme for the rest of the month. Here’s the latest update:
13 Aug – Napier Update course – rescheduled to 24 August 14 Aug – Napier Inspector course – rescheduled to 25 August 18 Aug – Rotorua Update course – postponed 19 Aug – Tokoroa Update course – postponed 20 Aug – Cambridge Update course – postponed 21 Aug – Cambridge Inspector course – postponed
What happens next and what Government support might be available?
At this stage, all we know is that the new Alert Levels will apply for at least three days. What happens next will be determined by what the Government finds.
There has been no announcement from the Government about changes to existing support or plans for new support. That’s probably not surprising, as they will want to get a better handle on the situation before making any announcement.
We’ll be keeping in close contact with officials and will update you a soon as we have any information to share.
Finally, to our members in Auckland and to everyone around the country, our thoughts are with you, your families and your teams. Fingers crossed for a speedy resolution to this latest outbreak.