Covid 19 coronavirus: SME advice – How essential businesses should operate at level 4

Workplace advisory firm Employsure is calling on business owners to take caution during the alert level 4.

Six more positive cases of Delta variant have been detected in the community less than24 hours after the first case was found in Auckland on Tuesday afternoon.

The whole of New Zealand will be in level 4 lockdown for at least three days, and Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula for at least seven days.

Employsure advice services team leader Courtney Woods said essential businesses must operate cautiously and have an effective infection control policy to minimise the spread of the virus.

“That includes identifying and assessing the infection hazards at the workplace and implementing specific controls can help eliminate or minimise the risk of transmission.”

These may include mask wearing, physical distancing, regular handwashing with soap and the use of hand-sanitiser. Appropriate routine environmental cleaning and disinfection should occur regularly at all workplaces, Woods said.

Should a worker fall ill, additional control measures need to be initiated, she said.

“This includes isolating the infected person, identifying anyone they may have come in contact with and disinfecting the areas they have been working in.

“There is no disputing that action is required to stop the spread of the virus, particularly given its highly contagious nature,” Woods said.

“To help restrictions ease as soon as possible, business owners need to ensure they meet their health and safety responsibilities, comply with their legal obligations, and follow government directions.”

The essential services business that needs to remain open must ensure they have an upto date Covid safety plan and staff should work from home if they are able to do so.

“Business owners should plan for the worst and hope for the best,” she said.

If an employee or contractor test positive to Covid-19 in the coming days, the employer must notify health authorities as soon as possible.

Essential services include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations and lifeline utilities.

All non-essential businesses must remain close.

“These lockdowns, while needed, add a significant financial strain on small business.

“Employers will be feeling anxious, and many are operating at a far bigger loss than the financial support being offered. Some businesses are resilient and have shifted operations where applicable, but for others, these restrictions add to an already heavy financial and emotional toll,” Woods said.

Level 4 measures

• People are instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement.
• Safe recreational activity is allowed in local area.
• Travel is severely limited.
• All gatherings are cancelled and all public venues are closed.
• Businesses are closed except for essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations and lifeline utilities.
• Educational facilities are closed.
• Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities is possible.
• Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

New Zealand's alert level system

New Zealand uses an alert level system as a way of managing and minimising the risk of Covid-19 in our country.

New Zealand’s four-tier system – which was first introduced to Kiwis in March last year – is a way of helping people understand what risk is associated with current Covid-19 cases and what measures need to be followed.

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