Local Government COVID-19 Response Update – Wednesday 8 September 2021 

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Here’s today’s update  

The country outside of Auckland is now at Alert Level 2. Auckland remains at Alert Level 4.  

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

Updated guidance for council operations to meet alert level requirements 

We have our updated guidance for council operations to meet requirements through Alert Levels 2,3 and 4. The updated guidance is available on the Response Unit webpage. 

This table summarises the Alert Level 2 settings for different locations and situations.  

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. 

We are awaiting legal advice on how the changes to Alert Level 2 settings apply to council meetings. We hope to provide updated guidance on council meetings to you as early as possible tomorrow after receiving this legal advice. 

If councils identify any issues when using the guidance, please provide feedback to the Response Unit. 

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 

Face coverings at Alert Level 2 

Staff, customers and other visitors are required to wear a face covering in the public area of a local authority. 

Staff, customers and other visitors are required to wear a face covering in indoor public facilities (e.g. libraries, museums, recreation centres). Swimming pools are excluded. 

Staff must legally must wear a face covering if they are a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses and ferries between the North Island and South Island. 

People must wear face coverings when: 

using public transport, airplanes (including in arrival and departure points such as train stations and bus stops) and in a taxi or ride-share vehicle 

visiting a healthcare or aged care facility 

inside retail businesses, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, shopping malls, indoor marketplaces, takeaway food stores, and public venues, such as museums and libraries 

visiting the public areas within courts and tribunals, local and central Government agencies, and social service providers with customer service counters. 

People are encouraged to wear a face covering and to keep 2 metres distance from others when leaving their home. Especially if it is hard to maintain physical distance from others. 

You can read further information on face covering advice and requirements at the United against 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. 

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

There are 15 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 855. 218 people in the outbreak 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 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. 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.  

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. 

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