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“Work From Home” – What COVID-19 Alert Level 3 Means for Businesses

“Work From Home” – What COVID-19 Alert Level 3 Means for Businesses

Employsure is here to support business owners to comply with the restrictions under the COVID-19 alert levels.

The Government last week outlined the details of what relaxing restrictions from Alert Level 4 would look like and has now announced the lowered restrictions under Alert Level 3 will come into effect at 11:59pm on Monday 27 April.

Alert Level 3 will last for a minimum of a fortnight, and will then be reviewed by the government, before it makes a further decision on 11 May.

Business owners that want to open can spend the next week preparing to do so, e.g. get stock etc, but have been asked to stick to social distancing and their bubbles.

Schools and Early Learning Centres can be accessed for cleaning, preparation and maintenance. On 28 April, teachers will be allowed into the building – students who can attend will be allowed in the next day.

“For those who can work from home during this period, it will allow them to still enable cash flow into their business, while eliminating the risk of spreading the virus between potentially infected employees,” said Employsure Senior Employment Relations Adviser Ashlea Maley.

“While this may not be an option for all businesses, it is still the best course of short-term action, to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

“Allowing more businesses to resume operations will help reduce the unemployment rate and will allow the economy to begin to correct itself.

“While it would be good to see all businesses operating as soon as possible, the risk is still too high.”

What Businesses Are Open?

Under Alert Level 3, major restrictions apply to hospitality businesses like restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as retail and hardware stores.

Non-essential businesses that meet safety guidelines will be allowed to operate, but transactions but must be done through an app or online portal – not be face-to-face. Contactless food delivery or click and collect services must also be adhered to.

Businesses that don’t have a customer-facing function and are only accessed by staff can reopen, but staff must practise physical distancing and comply with health and safety standards.

The Government’s main message to employers is to still work from home if you can.

Schools will open for children up to and including year 10 but physical attendance is voluntary. Those in years 11-13 will continue to learn from home.

Looking Ahead

“We won’t yet know the full extent the government’s decision to lower the alert level will have on small business owners,” said Ms Maley.

“For those non-essential businesses that can’t operate from home and have to return to the workplace, these next few weeks will be the factor in deciding if the decision to relax restrictions was the right one.

“If they stick to good hygiene and abide by the safety measures they put in place, I can see this as a positive step forward.

“Employers should ensure all staff are abiding by the rules and should take the correct steps in maximising safety if a worker breaches them.

“The coming months will be a new test for New Zealanders, and it’s up to all of us to work together, to ensure we can come out of this on the other side.”

Resource Hub For Employers

To help employers meet this unprecedented challenge, Employsure has built a free Resource Hub, containing workplace policies, communications, checklists and FAQs. All information is free for business owners and can be found at employsure.co.nz/coronavirus

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