Local Government COVID-19 Response Update – Thursday 9 September 2021

Return to Local Government COVID Response Unit updates

Guidance on council meetings

Please note we are seeking further guidance on how the below guidelines impact councillors and council meetings


Face-coverings are legally required to be worn by everyone (staff and members of the public) in the public area of a local authority (unless you are exempt)

In non-public areas, masks are not a legal requirement but are strongly encouraged (unless you are exempt), especially when physical distancing is difficult (e.g. when people are moving around)

Information on who is exempt from wearing a face covering can be found here - Wear a face covering | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Physical distancing

People who ordinarily work in a non-public facing workplace should stay 1m away from other employees, and 2m away from other people entering the workplace

Other people entering the workplace (who do not ordinarily work in that workplace) should stay 2m away from others (including employees)

No physical limit on numbers – cap achieved through distancing

Record keeping

Contact record rules apply to local authority buildings

Updated guidance for council operations to meet alert level requirements

Some of the key updates under Alert Level 2 include:

Businesses and public facilities, such as museums, libraries and pools, can now all open with additional health measures in place.

Event facilities, including cinemas, stadiums, concert venues and casinos can have up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. You can have more than 50 people in an event facility but only if the people are in separate ‘defined spaces’

Gatherings of up to 50 people (indoors) or 100 people (outdoors) are allowed.

Mandatory record-keeping and physical distancing are legally required.

Face covering requirements apply as appropriate (i.e. to staff and customers in public facilities).

Passengers on public transport must be seated only.

Travel across Alert Level boundaries

The change in alert levels brings with it an increased risk associated with people transiting between alert level areas and introducing COVID-19.

Workers who need to cross an alert level boundary must carry evidence of the purpose of their travel and the location of their destination.

From 11.59pm on 16 September 2021, they must also carry evidence of having a COVID-19 test within the previous 7 days or have a certificate that verifies they were examined by a medical practitioner within the previous 7 days.

The Business Travel Register, managed by MBIE, enables businesses and organisations to register for travel for permitted activities, or to seek an exemption from the Director-General of Health.

Government agencies will be working with employers who have workers crossing the Auckland boundary to put in place weekly testing of these workers.


More information can be found on the MBIE website: Business travel across Alert Level Boundaries — business.govt.nz

Information on current cases, COVID-19 test sites and economic support

There are 13 new cases of COVID-19 in the community, all in Auckland. This brings the total number of to 868, 265 of whom have recovered


Available testing sites can be found here on the Ministry of Health website: Available testing sites.

Locations of interest can be found Locations of Interest, and is being updated as soon as information is available.

Economic assistance is available for those impacted by the lockdown, more information available on the COVID-19 website.


Guidance on mandatory record keeping at Alert Level 3 and lower

Many businesses and locations are required to take steps to ensure a people can easily make a record when they visit.

People in charge of a business, location or event, legally must make sure they have safe and secure systems and processes in place so that everyone working on or visiting the premises can scan in or provide their details in an electronic or paper-based manual process, no matter how long they are there for. This includes workers, contractors, customers, and volunteers.

Businesses and locations opening at Alert Level 2 have until 11.59pm Tuesday, 14 September 2021 to get systems and processes set up. If a business or location was open at Alert Level 3, it should already have systems set up.

Paper based registers should be maintained and recorded from an individual behind a counter (i.e. your receptionist) rather than viewed and operated by everyone who enters the building. If this is inconvenient or not staffed – people should be using a ballot box system.

The Privacy Commissioner has provided guidance on how to comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act while complying with the new record keeping requirements.

There will be no explicit obligation on the person responsible for the place or gathering to ensure that people are making a record. The obligation on businesses is to have systems and processes in place to ensure (as far as reasonably practicable) that customers or visitors make a record.

Businesses will not be required or expected to turn people away who may refuse to make a record of their visit, particularly if the person becomes aggressive or abusive. This will be at the discretion of the business.

Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website to get information on mandatory record keeping including:

New resources have been added to the posters section of the Unite Against COVID-19 website. These include three new ‘record keeping box’ templates in different sizes, new record keeping slips and a sticker for custom boxes.


Epidemic notice remains in force

The following provisions will remain in place until the Principal Notice expires or is revoked:

the amendments to enable council meetings via audio or visual link to meet quorum requirements regardless of Council Standing Orders;

the provisions enabling council meetings to be open to the public through online access and to post meeting agendas, reports and minutes on council websites rather than physical locations;

new members of Council can continue to make their statutory declaration (oath of office) via audio or audio-visual link; and

the mechanism for making further changes to by-election timing by Order in Council and provisions enabling local authority chief executives to delay the commencement of by-election timeframes.