Local Government COVID-19 Response Update –  Saturday 21 August 2021

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Here’s today’s update

The Prime Minister announced on Friday 20 August 2021 that New Zealand will remain in Alert Level 4 until at least 11.59pm Tuesday 24 August 2021. This will be reassessed by Cabinet on Monday 23 August 2021.

Building and Construction ­– COVID-19 Alert Level 4

MBIE and the Construction Sector Accord have provided the following key messages for the building and construction sector:

Non-urgent work must wait. Any work that can be delayed, should be delayed, to minimise the risk of person to person transmission of COVID-19. 

Building, construction and maintenance services may be able to operate during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions if they meet the Government criteria of Alert Level 4 business and services . 

If your work does not meet the criteria or you’re unsure if it does, you should defer the work to when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

It is the responsibility of all businesses in New Zealand to check whether they meet the criteria for operating at Alert Level 4. MBIE has published guidance with examples of the type of work that would meet the criteria, but cannot make these decisions on behalf of businesses.

Caring for Communities has been stood up

The Caring for Communities (C4C) function has been stood up, chaired by the Ministry of Social Development.

Work is underway on where to refer homeless people. At the moment, NEMA is directing these people through the housing first pathway with HUD and MSD.

Guidance on people staying in camping grounds during lockdown

The Ministry of Health confirmed that during Alert Level 4 people staying in cabins, or a campervan in camping grounds, can stay in the camping ground – but they cannot travel around the country.

More information can be found in section 15 of the Public Health Response Order here: COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 9) 2021

Waste and recycling update

Waste and recycling are essential services under Alert Level 4.

MfE is contacting members of the waste sector reference group brought together in the 2020 Alert Level 4 lockdown consisting of industry, local and central government representatives to ensure communication channels are open as needed.

MfE has advised that there is a new concern from industry to remind public (especially those awaiting test results) to dispose of masks safely.

MfE is currently drafting additional guidance that will be added to the MoH website based on lessons learned that:

transfer stations and landfills are for essential services and “essential” rural residents domestic waste only.

skip bins hire for non-essential activities is prohibited, garden clean ups are not an essential activity.

And, by request from industry, messaging to potentially infected households on how to manage their waste, and particularly disposal of face masks.

Guidance for Alert Level 4 for local government attached

Here is updated guidance for local government based on recent decisions for COVID-19 Alert Level 4. We have added guidance for the building and construction sector: Council services and operations through alert levels 2, 3 & 4- Updated 21 August 2021 (PDF, 1.3MB)

We have focused on updating the guidance for Alert Level 4 at this stage. We will provide guidance for Alert Levels 3 and 2 should we need to in the future.

Expanded list of essential workers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination

The government has expanded the list of essential workers eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to include frontline staff who interact with customers and transport and logistic services directly supporting the vaccination programme.

These people will be included in Group 2 in the vaccine prioritisation roll out. The new group includes people who work in:

Supermarkets and dairies

Petrol stations

Licensing trusts


Food banks

Self-service laundries

Hardware and DIY stores

Accommodation services

Passenger services (including public transport services) provided by means of road, rail, air, or sea

Social and community-based services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being, or as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless.

School hostels

People in these workplaces will be able to receive vaccinations as soon as possible without having to wait until 1 September to book.

DHBs will work directly with employers of these Group 2 workers to organise vaccinations.

Ombudsman’s advisory on LGOIMA during COVID-19

The Ombudsman has released an advisory about managing LGOIMA requests during lockdown. There is an emphasis on communicating with the public about any challenges your council may be facing. The advisory can be found here: Ombudsman's statement

A COVID-19 FAQS guide can also be found here: Ombudsman's FAQs. This guide answers questions from agencies and requesters about dealing with official information requests during the COVID-19 emergency.

New section 70 order has been issued

The order requireshousehold contacts of those who have visited locations of interest at the relevant times to self-isolate. The previous order only required self-isolation for those who had actually visited those locations.

More information can be found here: Covid-19 Epidemic Notice and Orders - Section 70 

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

There are 21 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community, this brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 51. Of the 21 new cases, 18 are in Auckland and three are in Wellington. This brings Wellington’s number of community cases to six.

If you have cold and flu symptoms, please get tested. Available testing sites can be found here on the Ministry of Health website: Available testing sites, with more being stood up in Auckland.

Locations of interest can be found here on the Ministry of Health website: 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.

Mandatory use of face coverings

A face covering must be worn:

on public transport and at departure points, for example train stations and bus stops

on flights

in taxi or ride-share vehicles — drivers and passengers

when visiting healthcare facilities

inside any Alert Level 4 businesses and services that are open and involve customer contact, including supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations. Staff must also wear masks.

What Alert Level 4 means

Stay home and keep to your bubble. Your bubble is your household, and anyone that may be dependent on you.

Only leave home for essential services: visiting the super market, exercise, getting tested, or receiving urgent medical care.

When leaving home for essential exercise, please wear a mask and physically distance from those outside your bubble.

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

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