Advertisers advice

What does Alert Level 3 mean for your business?

Here are the headline rules and regulations

As regions shift between alert levels, it’s important to know what that means for your business. Here’s a guide for operating under alert level 3:

What can my business do during Alert Level 3?

Can I open?

Under Level 3, the Government emphasis is on ‘safe only’ businesses. This means you can open if:

  • Your staff can’t work from home, and
  • Your workplace can function safely (by meeting public health guidelines as well as standard health and safety obligations), and
  • Customers aren’t allowed on the premises, and
  • You can trade without contact with customers.

The public health guidelines mentioned in the second point include:

  • Meeting physical distancing requirements.
  • Regularly disinfecting surfaces.
  • Not having sick people turning up to work.
  • Promoting good hand hygiene through frequent washing and sanitising.

Do staff have to work from home, or is it just advised?

The Government line here is simple, if your staff can work from home, they should. Only when remote working isn’t possible (for example, in many primary industries), can the employees come in.

Are work-related travel and client meetings permitted?

For non-essential workers, necessary travel within your own region, or to a neighbouring one is permitted under Level 3.

As for client meetings, these should still be done via video conference, unless you’re providing them with an essential serivce. Face to face client meetings become possible only at Alert Levels 2 and 1.

Will couriers be operating?

Under Alert Level 4, couriers could only deliver ‘essential’ items. However, at Alert Level 3, they will be able to operate a more standard service, as long as deliveries are contactless.

Couriers will be able to operate during Alert Level 3.

Can customers only pay using Eftpos?

While Eftpos is preferable, customers can pay with cash when there’s no alternative, and it can be handled safely.

Can I hire new staff?

Yes, but you'll need to interview candidates remotely, via phone or video call.

Sector specific advice

1. Primary industries

As long as your operation can fulfill the above requirements, all of NZ’s primary industries are allowed to open under Alert Level 3.

If you’re producing goods for export, shipping is also permitted.

2. Retail

The only shop fronts that should be open to customers during Alert Level 3 are supermarkets, petrol stations and dairies. However, all retail goods can be sold at this stage, so long as the transactions take place online or on the phone, not face-to-face.

As well as using couriers, the rules also permit retail businesses to operate click-and-collect or drive-through collections.

3. Hospitality

Cafes, restaurants and bars can’t open their premises to dine-in customers during Alert Level 3, as the risks remain too high.

However, if you have the capability, you can sell pre-prepared food and non-alcoholic drinks by drive-through or contactless delivery.

Establishments with off-licences, and whose license allows them to, can sell and deliver alcohol using contactless delivery or pick-up.

4. Trades and services

At Alert Level 3, tradespeople are allowed to enter customers’ properties to work. As with every sector, sanitising and physical distance are crucial here.

5. Construction

The Covid-19 construction standard includes strict rules on what’s permitted on construction sites, that employers in this sector must be aware of.

It aims to ensure that business owners and managers are focusing on ways they can reduce or eliminate the risk of Covid-19 spread on their sites, and also includes detection and response measures should transmission occur.

As normal, employers need to create a plan that shows how they will achieve the rules set out in the standard, and planning and implementing Covid-19 protocols should involve representation from workers.

There are new rules construction businesses have to adhere to during Covid-19.

6. Real estate

The current advice is that while staff can come to work, they can’t have in-person meetings with customers. This also means that open homes will have to remain remote.

However, there’s more guidance to come on whether pre-settlement inspections and one-on-one viewings might become possible.

Businesses that can’t open at Alert Level 3

  • Tourist facilities (including outdoor activity operators).
  • Hairdressers and other beauty-related salons (even going to customer’s houses isn't permitted).
  • Gyms.
  • In-home cleaners.
  • Door-to-door sales.
  • Driving instruction (except online).