Local Government COVID-19 Response Update –  Sunday 5 September 2021

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Here’s today’s update

All areas outside of Auckland have now moved to Alert Level 3. The Alert Level settings for all regions outside of Auckland will be reviewed by Cabinet on 6 September 2021. 

Auckland will remain in Alert Level 4 for a further two weeks. This will be reviewed by Cabinet on Monday 13 September. 

Alert level guidance

The Local Government Response Unit has been working over the weekend ahead of Monday’s Cabinet decision regarding alert levels.

Noting that the Delta strain is different to previous COVID-19 outbreaks, and that there has been changes to both Alert Level 3 and 4 settings as a result, we are anticipating that Alert Level 2 settings will be reviewed, and potentially updated as a result.

We have no further updates at this stage but are working to ensure you receive any updates once decisions are made.

All areas outside of Auckland have now moved to Alert Level 3. The alert level settings for all regions outside of Auckland will be reviewed by Cabinet on 6 September 2021. Auckland’s alert level settings will be reviewed by Cabinet on Monday 13 September. 

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

There are 20 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community, all in Auckland. This brings the total number of cases related to the Delta outbreak to 801. Of that number, 79 people have recovered, meaning there are currently 722 active cases.

If you have cold and flu symptoms, please get tested. Available testing sites can be found here.

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

Guidance on mandatory record keeping at Alert Level 3 and lower

On 22 August 2021, the Government announced that COVID-19 tracer app scanning (record keeping) is to be required under all alert levels for everyone 12 and older.

Mandatory record keeping requirements for all business south of Auckland will come into effect from 8 September 2021 and from 10 September 2021 for all Northland businesses.

The seven-day window provides businesses and other locations where record keeping will be required with time to ensure they have record keeping systems and processes in place.

This means many businesses and locations will need to have record keeping systems and processes in place, so visitors can keep a record when they visit. This can be done by scanning QR codes with the COVID-19 Tracer App or making a manual record.

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.

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.

We are working with agencies to further develop guidance for mandatory record keeping at Alert Level 3 and lower. This guidance will be published and regularly reviewed as more information becomes available.

Vaccination bookings now open to all people aged 12 and over

Everyone in Aotearoa aged 12 and over can now book their free COVID-19 vaccination. It does not matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

You can book on behalf of someone else — or help them with their booking — if you have their permission.

The Book My Vaccine website is the fastest and easiest way to book and make changes to your appointment. Booking through the website can take 5 minutes or less.

Vaccination appointments can also be booked over the phone by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26. All calls are free, and the team are available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one.

More information and resources on the New Zealand COVID-19 vaccination programme can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Travel across Alert Level Boundaries

The latest information on travel across Alert Level Boundaries can be found here: https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/business-travel-across-alert-level-boundaries/?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is managing the Business Travel Register. The register enables businesses and organisations to (pre-)register for essential worker travel across Alert Level boundaries.

The register is now open, and essential businesses can register:

either for permitted activities (those activities listed in the Alert Level Requirement Order): or

to seek an exemption from the Director General of Health (for something that isn’t listed in the Order).

The register will generate Business Travel Documents (BTD) for workers to display at checkpoints. The BTD includes a QR code, which enables Police to verify the document digitally against the register. The Business Travel Register is available at this link: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/business-travel-register-open/

For permitted activities there is no requirement to register for travel, nor are travellers required to carry the system issued BTD; there are a variety of forms of evidence that can be provided at checkpoints. However, the BTD will be a standard document recognised by Police that can be displayed from the vehicle and will therefore speed up monitoring of and passage through checkpoints.

An unofficial rule of thumb is that if you can travel under Alert Level 4 settings you will be able to do so for Alert Level 4/Alert Level 3 boundary travel – but all other travel has to be approved (so none of the previous prior approvals issued through the Business Travel system administered by MBIE will carry over)

The guidance on council services and operations through the Alert Levels (distributed Friday), provides further information on cross-boundary travel, including guidance on the Business Travel registration process.  

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.