Timeline for moving to level 1 needed, says BusinessNZ

BusinessNZ calls for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to alert level 1.

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to alert level 1.

The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current level.

BusinessNZ CEO Kirk Hope said it’s imperative to get more commercial activity happening and more people back at work because low levels of activity and low demand are hurting businesses and increasing the risk of business failure and job loss.

“Business needs more clarity about the path ahead, including detail on what level 1 restrictions might entail, and on the criteria for moving to level 1,” Hope said.

The BusinessNZ Network is asking the government to urgently produce a timeline and criteria for easing level 2 restrictions and moving to level 1.

New Zealand’s 4-level alert system, first  introduced in March to manage and  and minimise the risk of COVID-19, specifies measures to be taken against COVID-19 at each level. The system was

The country moved to alert level 2 on May 13, with schools, retail, malls, cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas, and other public spaces including playgrounds and gyms, can re-opening. All are required to have physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place. At the time, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said the government would look at the remaining restrictions again in two weeks.

Industry bodies and organisations including Hospitality NZ, Retail NZ, the New Zealand Council of Retail Property and Exercise NZ have all released sector-based guidelines and operational protocols in response to level 2.

All guidelines include strict cleaning and hygiene measures such as the placement of hand sanitiser at key locations; ongoing cleaning and sanitising, focused on high touchpoint surfaces, daily additional surface hygiene and in some cases, the shift to night-time staff to daytime to increase cleaning focus and reinforce enhanced hygiene expectations.

According to the government’s Covid-19 website, the disease needs to be controlled in New Zealand – although isolated transmission within households could be occurring – to move to level 1.

Some of the potential level 1 measures include:

  • Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.
  • Intensive testing for COVID-19.
  • Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.
  • Self-isolation and quarantine required.
  • Schools and workplaces open, and must operate safely.
  • Physical distancing encouraged.
  • No restrictions on gatherings.
  • Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash and dry your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face.
  • No restrictions on domestic transport — avoid public transport or travel if you’re sick.

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