Doing business at Alert Level 4

Find out if your business can operate at Alert Level 4.

Who can work

At Alert Level 4, we all need to stay in our household bubbles. If you or your employees can work from home, they can continue to work at Alert Level 4.

If your business provides an Alert Level 4 business or service, then your employees can go into work if they cannot work from home.

You cannot apply to provide an Alert Level 4 service — instead it is up to the business to check whether they meet the definition of an Alert Level 4 business or service.

You do not need an exemption or permission to operate or for your employees to go to work.

Working safely at Alert Level 4

Pay and leave entitlements for employees during COVID-19 | employment.govt.nz (external link)

Businesses that can have customers on their premises

At Alert Level 4, only certain businesses can open to the public and have customers on their premises.  

You can open to customers if you are a:  

  • supermarket, dairy or food bank
  • pharmacy
  • liquor store (only Licensing Trust stores in the 4 Licensing Trust Areas with a monopoly can sell alcohol)
  • petrol station
  • self-service laundry
  • bank or a financial institution
  • hardware store — for trade customers only
  • health service  
  • accommodation service
  • court or tribunal
  • social and community-based service to maintain critical wellbeing or crisis support 
  • emergency service
  • Parliamentary services 
  • passenger services, including public transport by road, rail, air or sea
  • school hostel.

All other businesses must not have customers on their premises. 

Operating at different Alert Levels | business.govt.nz (external link)

Information for businesses and services in primary industries | mpi.govt.nz (external link)

Click and collect services

If you are an Alert Level 4 business or service and you are permitted to have customers on your premises, you can open for click and collect services.

If you are a hardware store, click and collect is only available for trade customers.

Make sure your staff limit their interactions with customers as much possible by having contactless methods for pick up and payment.

Helpline for businesses

If you have an enquiry about the Alert Level 4 rules or if you are unsure if you can operate, you can:

Businesses and services that can operate at Alert Level 4

The following businesses and services can operate at Alert Level 4. The businesses are organised by sector. Not all of these businesses can have customers on the premises, and there are restrictions on how they can operate.

You do not need to apply to operate with MBIE or MPI during Alert Level 4. It is up to you to check if you business meets the criteria of an Alert Level 4 business or service.

Essential non-food consumer products

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has published a list of essential non-food consumer products that can be provided at Alert Level 4. Businesses and shoppers are expected to act responsibly.

Any provision of essential non-food consumer products should be by online order with contactless delivery only.

Essential non-food consumer products | business.govt.nz (external link)

Keeping employees and customers safe

If your employees need to work on site, you should:  

  • limit the number of people on site so everyone can safely stay 2 metres apart  
  • offer flexible working arrangements, for example, staggered meal breaks, or staggered start and finish times to help with physical distancing 
  • clean and disinfect your workplace regularly   
  • provide employees with handwashing facilities   
  • have personal protective equipment (PPE) available for employees to use  
  • encourage workers to wear a face covering if physical distancing is difficult
  • display your QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system for workers and customers to use.

If your employees interact with customers or members of the public, they legally must wear a face covering while at work.

Face coverings at Alert Level 4

If your workplace is allowed customers on premises make sure you encourage everyone to:

  • scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer App or fill out a contact tracing register
  • sanitise their hands on entry
  • physically distance by installing barriers, closing every alternate checkout or having a "one-in, one out" policy
  • use contactless payment options

If your business cannot meet all Alert Level 4 rules to operate safely, your workers should not go into work.

Working safely at Alert Level 4

Record keeping and contact tracing

At Alert Level 4, it is important we have strong contact tracing ability.

Businesses that are open at Alert Level 4 legally must display an NZ COVID Tracer QR code in a prominent place at or near your main entrance. You also need to offer visitors a way to manually sign in. If you are using an alternative contact tracing system, you need to record:

  • the entry and exit times for workers, visitors and contractors
  • the names of everyone on your premises or location
  • their contact details.

Make sure you keep your contact tracing records secure.

Record keeping and contact tracing

Going into someone's home to work

At Alert Level 4, your employees can go into someone's home to work if they are a tradesperson — for example a plumber, electrician or locksmith. They can only do urgent repair or maintenance work — if it is critical to safety, or to maintain the necessities of life.

If your employees do go into someone's home to work, they must:

  • wear a face covering
  • keep records of their visit to support contact tracing. This includes recording the date and time they arrive and leave a customer's home and their customer's contact details
  • keep 2 metres apart from everyone in the home.

Your employees should not go into someone's home if they are unwell, or if the clients they are visiting are unwell.

Travelling for work at Alert Level 4

If your employees need to go into the premises or work on site, they can travel to work by any method, like their car or public transport.

Employees may be asked to show who they work for so they can prove they have a reason to travel. We recommend you provide your employees with a letter to confirm:

  • their name
  • that they are providing an Alert Level 4 business or service
  • the address of your workplace.

Public transport services may have limited capacity during Alert Level 4. You will not be permitted to stand on public transport so everyone can safely distance. 

If your employees need to use public transport to get to work, we encourage you to offer flexible working options.

If your workers need to cross the Alert Level 4 and 2 boundary

Business or work travel across Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 2 boundaries is strictly limited. These Alert Level boundaries are an important way to manage the risk of the virus spreading, so we keep our loved ones and communities safe.

You may only travel across the Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 2 boundary if that travel is permitted. You also need to make sure your workers have acceptable evidence that they are permitted to cross the boundary.

Business travel over an Alert Level 4 and 2 boundary

Picking up equipment from your workplace 

Your employees can travel to your workplace to collect any materials or equipment they need to help them work from home. 

When going into your workplace, your employees should:

  • plan what they need so they limit their time on the premises
  • safely physically distance from other people who may be in the workplace
  • wear a face covering if possible
  • scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer app

Your employees should not go into the workplace if they are unwell, have been asked to isolate or are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.(external link) (external link)

Childcare services for Alert Level 4 workers

If you are working for an Alert Level 4 business or service and you have no available options for childcare, you can extend your household bubble to include a carer for your children. 

The carer can leave their home to provide childcare for your children. 

The carer cannot join another household bubble. 

The carer does not need to wear a face covering when looking after your children.

If you do not have available childcare

Alert Level 4 workers who have children aged up to 13 years old can access free care, so they are able to continue to provide the services we need at Alert Level 4.

The scheme is for workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services, and other exempted services such as fire and emergency and border workers.

You can get free childcare if you do not have childcare in place — you are expected to use your own private arrangements where possible.

Access a childcare provider for workers of Alert Level 4 businesses or services (external link)

If your employee has been at a location of interest

If your employee or someone they live with has been at a location of interest, everyone in the household must follow all public health advice. This may mean self-isolating in their bubble at home.

Your employee should not:

  • come into work
  • leave home for exercise 
  • go grocery shopping.

This is essential to prevent spreading the virus further. If your employee is required to self-isolate, you can support them by:

  • delivering groceries or medications to their home in a contactless way
  • checking in on their mental health and wellbeing

Encourage your employees to keep checking the locations of interest as they are updated regularly. If your employee or someone they live with has been at a location of interest, they should let you know straight away so they can go home and isolate.

What to do if you have been at a location of interest (external link)

If someone at work has COVID-19, or your business is a location of interest

If someone at work has COVID-19

If an employee finds out they have tested positive for COVID-19 while they are at work, they must tell you immediately.  

You may be directed by a medical officer of health to comply with certain public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, and protect your employees, their whānau and your community. 

The Ministry of Health has guidance on what you need to do if an employee, customer or visitor is a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. 

Guidance for workplaces that have a case of COVID-19  (external link)

If an employee develops symptoms of COVID-19 at work, send them home and ask them to call Healthline or their GP for advice on getting a test.

If your business is a location of interest

If your business is identified as a location of interest, you will be contacted by a public health official. The public health official will talk you through what this means for you. 

The Ministry of Health has guidance on what to tell your staff and customers if you're identified as a location of interest and how to identify any contacts who may have been exposed to COVID-19. 

If your business is a location of interest | Ministry of Health (external link)

Financial support for businesses

If your business needs financial support, there may be help for you.

Financial support for businesses

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