Local Government COVID-19 Response Update – Tuesday 7 September 2021

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Here’s today’s update  

The country outside of Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 from 11.59pm tonight, Tuesday 7 September 2021.  

Auckland remains at Alert Level 4.  

Alert level settings for all of New Zealand will be reviewed by Cabinet on Monday 13 September.  

The updated COVID-19 Public Health Response Order for Alert Level 2 is expected imminently. The Response Unit is working to incorporate the changes announced yesterday into detailed guidance for local government that will be consistent with the Public Health Response order. Attached are the details we currently have, however please note there are still further details to come. We will send out detailed guidance as soon as it is available. 

Changes to Alert Level 2 settings  

The following key changes have been made to Alert Level 2 settings:  

Essential workers who cross the Auckland alert level boundaries will be required to get tested weekly for COVID-19. Essential workers will need to show proof of testing when crossing the boundaries. Those workers will not be required to isolate and stay at home while waiting for test results. 

Face coverings are mandatory at public indoor venues. You can remove masks to eat and drink at hospitality venues. Staff at public-facing businesses open at Alert Level 2 must wear face coverings. 

Public indoor venues (e.g. museums, gyms and libraries) must follow the 2m rule for visitors 

Indoor gatherings, and hospitality and event venues have a limit of 50 people. Outdoor venues have a limit of 100 people 

General guidance on Alert Level 2 is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website. 

Surveillance Testing  

The Government has announced there will be extra surveillance testing for healthcare, border, quarantine and essential workers.  

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

As this is surveillance testing, there is no requirement for workers to stay at home while they wait for their results, unless they have cold and flu symptoms.   

Guidance on mandatory record keeping at Alert Level 3 and lower 

Mandatory record keeping requirements will come into effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 8 September 2021, for all businesses and locations south of Auckland and from Friday 10 September 2021 for all Northland businesses and locations.  

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. 

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.  

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. 

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 andprocesses 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: 

  • How to get your QR code poster 
  • Requirements for systems to record customers or visitors 
  • Alternative systems for record keeping 
  • Contact tracing register templates 

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

There are 21 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 841.  

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.  

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

Disposing of single-use face coverings  

A reminder from the Ministry for the Environment that it is a requirement to dispose single-use face coverings in the rubbish bin, not the recycling bin.   

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, using the Book My Vaccine website, or calling 0800 2829 26.  

It does not matter what your visa or citizenship status is, everyone is eligible for the vaccine.  

You can book for someone else - or help them with their booking – if you have their permission.  

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

Travel across the 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/

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.