Stepping Down to Alert Level 3: What does it mean for your business?

Tasha Maloney

Silverdale Business

On Monday 20th of April the Government has confirmed that we will be stepping down to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday morning, 28 April 2020 in a move towards returning to normal business whilst continuing to prioritise the health and safety of everyone in New Zealand.

Although there are still many Covid-19 restrictions in place for businesses, and bubbles are to remain as small as possible, it does mean that new possibilities are opening up for many retail, trade and services providers who can operate in a contact-less and safe environment.

Businesses that fall within Alert Level 3 criteria may re-enter their premises this week for the purposes of preparation only, whilst maintaining the current Alert Level 4 social distancing requirements.

A possible move to Alert Level 2 may be considered for 11 May 2020.

What can we do for you?

Supporting small local businesses in rejuvenating the economy appears to have become a mantra during this unprecedented time. We need to capitalise on this by being creative in how we deliver our goods and services to customers in our community right now.

The Silverdale Area Business Association would like to assist you and your business through encouraging our community to SHOP LOCAL. If you are reopening in a new way as a result of the step down to Alert Level 3, please let us know about your goods and service offerings, and how you are delivering them to the public. We will help spread the word about your Business.

Please email your trading details in a concise paragraph to info@silverdalebusiness.co.nz by Saturday 25 April at 5pm. We will send out a notification before 28 April to provide information about the Businesses that will be trading.

We would also like to profile Businesses on our Facebook Page during this time. Please follow Business Silverdale and share posts.

What does Alert Level 3 mean to your Business?

Below is a summary of the latest Alert Level 3 requirements in Q&A format.
Source https://business.govt.nz/covid-19

In addition to these requirements, Public health guidelines and health and safety measures in the workplace must be adhered to.

In general, businesses must carefully consider how to safely operate based on their individual circumstances. Industry organisations will be issuing specific guidance for certain sectors and kinds of workplaces. If you are in doubt, contact WorkSafe, your industry organisation, or your local chamber of commerce or BusinessNZ.

Everyone must work from home unless it is not possible. Workplaces can be reopened if the work cannot be done from home and the workplace can operate consistently within public health guidance. However, there cannot be contact with the public. For example, retail needs to be by contactless purchase and delivery, including drive-through and click and collect. Retail storefronts cannot open to customers (except supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations).

Q&A General

What are ‘alternative ways of working’ that businesses can use? Remote working, shift-based working to limit the number of people on site, staggering meal breaks, or flexible work arrangements. There must be mutual agreement prior to changing any arrangements.

It is inconvenient to work from home because e.g. my IT services are slow, or I want access to printing. Can I go into the office? You must work from home unless it is impossible to do so. Your bubble must remain as small as possible.

Can I travel for work? Everyone can travel for work within their region, or to a neighbouring region if it is necessary. Essential workers can travel outside of their regions where necessary.

When can I meet with new or existing clients? You should meet with existing or new clients remotely, unless you are providing an essential service.

Q&A Retail & Hospitality

I operate a retail store. What does Alert Level 3 mean for me? You can sell any goods to customers by phone/online order and contactless delivery or collection. You cannot open your physical retail storefront to customers unless you are a supermarket, dairy or petrol station. Customers can also collect goods through drive-through or contact-less pick-up, such as click and collect, instead of delivery. If you run a dairy or petrol station, note there are additional requirements you must comply with at Alert Level 3.

What are the specific rules for supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations? Supermarkets can remain open at all alert levels. Public health measures may mean there are some changes to how they operate, such as a capacity limit. Customers can only enter dairies on a one-in-one-out basis. Prepared food and drink can be bought and sold, but cannot be consumed by customers onsite. In petrol stations, prepared food can be bought and sold, but cannot be consumed by customers on-site.

When will restaurants, bars and cafes open? Restaurants, bars and cafes cannot open their premises to customers at Alert Level 3 but they can sell prepared food and non-alcoholic beverages by contact-less delivery and collection (including drive-through).

Will restaurants, bars and cafes be able to supply alcohol? Most liquor licenses for these premises require alcoholic beverages to be consumed on-site, and are not allowed to be taken away. These laws remain the same under Alert Level 3.

What counts as a drive-through? Drive-throughs include already established facilities (such as at fast food outlets), and temporary drive-throughs (such as ones set up in retail car parks). Businesses can only use or establish drive-through facilities if they can meet the public health requirements. This would include physical distancing, only accepting contact-less payment methods wherever possible, and contact tracing. For example, a café can allow phone-based ordering and payment, and then deliver the food or drinks to a customer parked in their car park in a way that avoids contact. Temporary drive-through facilities should only be established where it is appropriate. Businesses should ensure they have the necessary permits and operate any drive-through safely.

Can takeaway booths serve pedestrian-only customers? Takeaway booths can operate if they meet public health guidelines (e.g. physical distancing). For example, a coffee booth may accept online or phone-based orders and place coffees on a table for customers to collect. This should only be done if their physical environment allows for sufficient physical distancing by customers.

Can people without banking facilities pay in cash? Cash should only be accepted where the customer has no alternative, and the business has measures in place to ensure the cash is handled safely (such as only accepting cash using self-check out kiosks, or appropriate sanitisation measures).

Q&A Trade & Services

What if repair work needs to be done in someone’s home? If repair work can be done safely at home by the homeowner, it should be. Supplies can be obtained from a hardware store by ordering online or by phone and having the supplies delivered, or collected through a drive-through system. Tradespeople can enter homes to do repair work. However, customers and tradespeople need to ensure the relevant public health measures are met, including physical distancing requirements. Tradespeople will be able to get the supplies they need for any such work.

When can I buy/sell a house, or move house? House sales and purchases are allowed, but some of the activities involved, e.g. open homes and inspections, may need to happen in different ways because of limits on people movement and interactions. People can move homes, including rental moves. They can travel between regions, including using domestic air services for the purposes of moving to a new house. All freight can be moved around the country and moving companies can operate as long as it is done safely. The physical interactions involved in house sale, purchase and settlement should be done remotely where possible. It may be possible to do a final pre-settlement inspection in person, or have a real estate agent come into the home, as long as all physical distancing and public health measures are taken. More detailed guidance on how this will operate at Alert Level 3 will be available.

When will hair, nail and beauty salons open at Alert Level 2? This includes businesses going to people’s homes to do these services. This restriction is because of the level of close, personal contact involved in these services, and the risk that would pose to public health.

We look forward to hearing from you about what your businesses are doing under the Alert Level 3 requirements.