The Government has announced that businesses and other organisations can undertake limited activities on their premises to prepare for the move to Alert Level 3.
New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 from 11.59pm, Monday 27 April. We remain in Alert Level 4 until then, however a variation to the COVID-19 rules means some limited workplace activities are permitted this week and weekend.
Businesses and other organisations can:
- clear, unpack and sort freight at their workplaces,
- clean their premises, and
- rearrange workplaces for when workers return to premises at Alert Level 3 (e.g. to allow physical distancing).
Activities such as regular maintenance and setting up delivery/click and collect systems should wait until we are at Alert Level 3.
Businesses should carefully consider what activities are absolutely necessary and how to safely operate based on their individual circumstances. They must meet the health and safety and public health requirements. This includes appropriate hygiene measures and two-metre physical distancing, as required at Alert Level 4.
All other normal rules still apply. For example, if stock needs to be moved with a forklift, the driver needs the appropriate licence.
WorkSafe guidance to on managing COVID-19 risks (external link) - Worksafe.govt.nz
Essential businesses can continue operating in line with the Alert Level 4 guidance from COVID-19.govt.nz (external link) .
Bringing workers onto the premises
Employers can ask a very limited number of their workers to come to work to prepare for Alert Level 3 if they are meeting health and safety and public health requirements.
Employers should only ask the minimum number of workers to come to work, and it should only be for activities that are necessary to prepare the workplace for opening at Alert Level 3.
Please note that Anzac Day falls on the weekend, and normal Holidays Act rules apply.
If a worker does not believe the activity is necessary or they do not believe their employer is meeting the health and safety and public health requirements, they should raise their concerns with them. Employers need to engage their workers’ views on how best to manage risks for workers.
If their concerns are not addressed, they may wish to escalate them to their health and safety representative, union or WorkSafe.
Activities that aren't possible with physical distancing
Some activities, such as lifting heavy items, may require two people to achieve safely. People should not do anything unsafe. They may need to consider whether equipment can be used instead. They may also need to defer some tasks to when they have sufficient controls in place to manage all health and safety risks so far as reasonably practicable.
Travelling to a workplace
Employers and workers can travel to their workplace if it is in the same region where they are currently living.
When we go to Alert Level 3, people can move between regions to get back to their home or place of business. Until then, because we are still at Alert Level 4, people need to stay in the region that they are in unless you meet one of the limited criteria for inter-regional travel (external link) .
Read more information on the Alert Levels (external link) - covid19.govt.nz