COVID-19

COVID-19

For the Government guidelines on the COVID-19 Protection Framework and Traffic Light System – click here.
New Zealand is currently at Traffic Light setting orange. To find out more about orange – please click here.
New Zealand moved to Phase 3 of the Government’s Omicron response on Thursday, 24 February @ at 11.59pm. To find out what this means in response to the outbreak – click here.

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COVID-19 Readiness

Being COVID-19 ready is about making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. It will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed. The following resources can help you prepare for COVID-19:

COVID-19 Business Helpline

A fully funded COVID-19 Business Helpline is available for all businesses in the South Island – so please do contact this service if you need help: 0800 50 50 96

Wellbeing Support

Need to Talk? 1737 is free to call or txt from any landline or mobile phone, 24-7. This number will connect you with mental health and addictions professionals in the National Telehealth Service.

Get Your Vaccine Booster

Speeding up the vaccine booster rollout is a key part of New Zealand’s response to Omicron. Reducing the interval between the second dose and the booster from 6 months to 3 months (93 days) will provide greater protection from COVID-19, including Omicron. If you’re aged 18 years and over and have had your second vaccination at least 3 months ago, you can now have your booster dose.  You can get your booster by: 

Close Contact Exemption Scheme for Critical Workers

The Close Contact Exemption Scheme will help to keep critical supply chains running though Omicron. These are services where the temporary closure of a business or organisation will cause significant economic, social or physical harm to the community. The scheme gives workers of critical services an exemption from Close Contact isolation requirements, if they return daily negative tests. Now the country has entered Phase 2, businesses and organisations can register online as a critical service if they think they will meet the criteria. More information about the scheme and how to register can be found here.

Please click here for a guide on close contact exemption scheme, definitions of ‘critical,’ and information on accessing and using rapid antigen tests.

Vaccine Passes and Scanning/Recordkeeping

There is no requirement to use vaccine passes – however businesses will still be able to use the system if they choose to.

There is no requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or have mandatory record keeping.

Traveller/Border Information

New Zealand’s border will be fully reopened by the end of July, 2022. 

For more information about the reopening of New Zealand’s border, visit here.

For the most up-to-date Information about travelling to, leaving and transiting through New Zealand, please ensure you visit here.

Vaccination Information

National Vaccination Rollout

The COVID-19 vaccination has been rolled out throughout New Zealand with everyone over the age of 12 years now eligible for the vaccine. Please check the Government’s COVID-19 website for the latest information on eligibility and how to book your vaccine.

There are a number of vaccination stations throughout Otago. For information on where to find your local vaccine clinic please click here.

You can book online or by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline: 0800 28 29 26.  Alternatively you could contact your local vaccine clinic.

Border Exceptions Process Chart

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have provided a graphic to help navigate the border exemptions process. See the graphic here.

Financial Support Available

Targeted COVID-19 Support Payment Announced

(Date: 21 February, 2022)

A new targeted COVID-19 Support Payment that will be made available for businesses struggling with revenue during the Omicron outbreak.  This payment is modelled on the previously available Resurgence Support Payment and will be administered in the same way through the Inland Revenue Department. 

Each COVID-19 Support Payment will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000 – this is the same rate as the most recent Transition Payment.

Applications for the first payment open on Monday, February 28, with payments starting from Tuesday, March 1.

The support will be available on a fortnightly basis for six weeks – three payments in total (this reflects the international experience that the peak of the Omicron outbreak should pass after approximately six weeks). The Government has committed to continue to closely monitor the situation and has the option to extend the support if this if necessary.

A higher threshold in terms of revenue loss than previous support has been introduced in order to target those most affected. Firms must show a 40 percent drop in seven consecutive days within the six weeks prior to the shift to Phase 2 of the Omicron response on February 15.

Information about the COVID-19 Support Payment can be found here.

Changes to Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme

(Date: 21 February, 2022)

The Government have announced changes to the Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme.  A ‘top up’ loan of $10,000 will be made available with a new repayment period of five years and the first two years being interest free. In addition, all existing borrowers will have the first two years of accrued interest waived.  This means interest will only start accruing at the beginning of year three.

Information about the Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme can be found here.

Flexibility for Tax Payment Dates

(Date: 21 February, 2022)

The Government has again extended the Commissioner of Inland Revenue’s ability to apply flexibility for tax payment dates and terms to assist firms with cashflow pressures.

Any businesses struggling to pay tax because of the impacts of COVID-19 should login to myIR to see if they can delay starting payments to a later date, or if any part of the tax could be written off. The IRD can help with both GST and provisional tax due.

Resurgence Support Payment (RSP): 

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations which have experienced a 30% drop in revenue due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher.

To find out more information and/or to apply – see the Inland Revenue website.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme 

The Wage Subsidy payments support employers to continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by a change in COVID-19 alert levels and the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

To find out more information and/or to apply – see the Work and Income website.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS)

Organisations and small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

To find out more information and/or to apply – see the Inland Revenue website.

Short Term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

To find out more information and/or to apply – see the Work and Income website.

Payments for Employers with Employees in Self-Isolation

There are two different payments available when workers and self-employed people need to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is for when workers and self-employed people need to self -isolate and can’t work from home.

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is for when a worker or self-employed person needs to self-isolate while they wait for a test result.

Employers or self-employed people can apply for these payments to help pay wages.

Remittance of Penalties and Interest

Inland Revenue’s ability to remit interest if a business is late paying its tax because they are adversely affected by COVID-19 has been extended. Customers should contact Inland Revenue as soon as they know they will not be able to pay their tax on time.

Pacific Aotearoa Regional Fund

This fund is for existing small and medium sized Pacific businesses in the regions to stimulate growth and thrive in response to the impacts of COVID-19. Apply for the fund here.

Arts & Culture COVID Recovery Programme

This scheme will provide financial support to businesses (including self-employed people) who can provide evidence of a forty percent drop in income during ‘Red’ when compared to a reference period. More information is available here.


Financial Support Updates

Please keep an eye on the following websites for updates:

Drop By

Dunedin
Public Trust Building
442 Moray Place
level 3

Invercargill
192 Spey Street

info@business-south.org.nz
03 479 0181