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Covid-19 – disaster management

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand is the central point of communication to and from Government and the national media for the road freight transport industry. We keep this page updated daily with information needed by road freight operators during Covid-19 outbreaks and alert level changes.

We are in ongoing discussions with the government officials putting all the measures in place during New Zealand’s response to the Covid-19 virus.

Alert levels

The Covid-19 Protection Framework, or traffic light system, is now operating. All of New Zealand moves to the orange traffic light at 11.59pm on Wednesday 13 April.

Daily updates

 
2022 updates
Friday 15 July 2022

Government announced new public health measures to manage the spread of Covid-19. In addition to flu season, a second Omicron wave adds pressure on the health system. You can read the advisory here.

Wednesday 13 April

Kiwis will be able to enjoy the long weekend with greater freedoms across the country from 11:59pm on Wednesday as New Zealand moves to Orange, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. You can read his media release here.

Friday 1 April

WorkSafe has released updated guidance on workplace risk assessments related to Covid-19. This Advisory provides a summary.

Wednesday 23 March

The Government announced it will relax restrictions including vaccine mandates except for health sector, aged care, and border workers, from  4 April, however, masks must still be worn indoors. You can read the detailed announcement here.

Friday 11 March

As at 11.59pm tonight, self isolation rules change - we have issued this Advisory about those changes.

Wednesday 9 March

Today, Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the home isolation period for people returning a positive Covid-19 test result will reduce from 10 days to seven days from 11.59pm on Friday 11 March. You can see the details in the Minister's press release here.

Thursday 3 March

We have issued this Advisory to encourage operators to plan for purchasing rapid antigent tests in case their customers begin requiring pre-testing of drivers prior to entering sites.

Thursday 24 February

At 11.59pm tonight, New Zealand will move to its Omicron Phase 3 response. This Advisory explains what that means. 

You can read the Government announcement here.

Monday 21 February

This Advisory covers preventing close contacts from occurring in your workplace, to enable business continuity.

Friday 18 February

Find out if the 'bubble of one' option for workers who are close contacts will work for you. The worker must not be customer-facing and be able to maintain a bubble of one at work (including travelling to and from work). Workers must be vaccinated and asymptomatic. Read our Advisory here.

Thursday 17 February

We issued this Advisory on using the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. Please note, this advice is subject to change as the government departments working on the scheme regularly update their processes and information.

Tuesday 15 February

The Government announced yesterday that at 11.59pm tonight (Tuesday 15 February) it will move New Zealand to Phase 2 of its Omicron response. We have issued this Advisory regarding what that means for road freight transport operators.

The Ministry of Health has produced rapid antigen testing guidance for critical workers during Phase 2 of the Omicron response, which you can find here.

You can see the Prime Minister and Director General of Health make the announcements at a press conference here.

Thursday 10 February

Today the Government announced a new scheme to keep key sectors going through Omicron. You can read the statement here.

Transporting New Zealand has issued advice on what the isolation exemption scheme means to our industry and how you can register for exemption - you can read that Advisory here.

Wednesday 2 February

Today, the Government announced it has reduced the time for the Covid-19 booster to three months from the second vaccine, effective from Friday 4 February. You can read the announcement here.

Monday 31 January

We have issued this Advisory updating operators on discussions we are having with the government and the possibility you may need to register your company details and the number of “critical workers” you have on a yet to be developed Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) online register.

The proposed register is to assist those businesses that may have workers who are close contacts of a positive case but who could return to work early if they are asymptomatic instead of completing self-isolation. Workers who meet the critical threshold will be given access to the Government’s supply of rapid antigen testing.

The Advisory also provides advice on a possible supplier of rapid antigen tests (RATs), now that companies are having difficulty accessing these as the Government has requisitioned much of the previously ordered testing.

Wednesday 26 January

Government announcement

Today the Government announced a three-phase approach to Omicron

     1.    ‘Stamp it out’ - slow the start of the outbreak
     2.    Slow the spread of the outbreak
     3.    Minimise the widespread outbreak

You can read the Government's announcement here and find information on the Government's Covid-19 webpage here.

We are aware the announcement raises more questions than answers and we have had a meeting with the Transport Minister today to start getting some of those answers. It is critical that all freight can move freely and we have made that point very clear.

Mask use

The Government made some announcements yesterday about mask use, particularly for workers who have a vaccine mandate. We are waiting for the full guidance on this. Keep checking the Government's Covid-19 website page about wearing a face mask for updates.

Rapid antigen testing

We are aware that the Government is purchasing a lot of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and this may cause issues for businesses that have testing regimes in place. The Ministry of Health updated its RAT page on Tuesday 25 January, adding more suppliers. You can find that here. We are also trying to get clarity on how the Government will prioritise testing.

Tuesday 25 January

Transporting New Zealand has issued this media release calling for more drivers to be on standby if Omicron takes hold.

Sunday 23 January

The Prime Minister today announced that as of 11.59pm tonight, all of New Zealand will move into the red setting of the Covid Protection Framework. You can read her media release here and watch the press conference here

The most up-to-date information will be on the Government's Covid-19 web page here.

The Government will be taking a three-stage approach to the point where New Zealand sees 1000 cases a day, the Prime Minister has said. There is currently no information on this or how long New Zealand will be in the red setting.

Stage one will be stamp it out, with contact tracing and testing, including rapid antigen tests. Stage two will be a transition stage. The third stage will see changes to contact tracing, and further details on the three stages will be released at a later date, according to the Prime Minister.

Transporting New Zealand has concerns about the long isolation period of 14 days announced by the Government, with an additional 10 days for close contacts which could see some households isolating for 24 days or longer. We will continue to discuss the impact of this on the supply chain with the Government.

Economic support
The Government has economic support as follows:

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available to employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

 
2021 updates
 
Friday 10 December

We would like to clarify some earlier advice on the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Act 2021 about employers keeing vaccination records.

Clarification of legislation

The above piece of legislation applies to affected workers carrying out specified work. For demonstrative purposes, examples of specified work that you may be familiar with include staff in: managed quarantine and isolation facilities, airport and ports, corrections facilities, education and the health and disability sectors. However, specified work does not include transport operators. 

Notwithstanding the above, we are aware some operators will have clients that are, or will be, requiring that visitors and drivers delivering to their respective sites will require vaccination. In those cases, it would be good business practice for operators to maintain information on worker vaccination status.   

We are also mindful that an operator’s respective risk assessment and risk control plan will be a key determining factor in how they choose to manage their worker vaccination status.  

 
Critical information

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.

The Government’s Covid-19 webpage is here.

Information for businesses is available here.

Guidance and protocols

WorkSafe previously signed off guidance and protocols developed by Transporting New Zealand, then the RTF, to help businesses. These include Covid-19 workplace protocols for road freight transport. The guidance can be found here.

On 2 December 2021, the Ministry of Transport released its Covid-19 Protection Framework - Guidance for Transport Operators.