On Friday 31 January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. This has had a significant impact on the economy globally and most importantly here in NZ. If you are an employer with concerns for your staff or an exporter with overseas customers or planning on travelling abroad, here are some key resources from the government to help you stay informed.
Exporters and Importers
If you are an exporter or importer in NZ and are wondering what will happen next then New Zealand Trade Enterprise (NZTE) has organised a page on their website which provides information from the Ministry for Primary Industries, The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and NZ Customs with daily reviews and updates. The page also includes contact details for relevant sources to get in touch with depending on which situation you are in. There has been access provided by NZTE to their China team, so if you are an exporter with concerns or questions you can discuss this with a NZ Customs point of contact. If you are not working with NZTE then you can call 0800 555 888. If you have questions around normal tax obligations due to the impacts of COVID-19, Inland Revenue has a variety of ways to assist you.
Currently in response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, NZ Government has extended travel restrictions for some foreign travellers which will be in place from Tuesday 3rd of March 2020. There is more information available for travellers, visa holders, student visa holders, cruise ships and maritime vessels on Immigration NZ. If you are living in New Zealand and want to travel abroad, guidance around safe travels is available here. If you had travel plans but is now effected by this pandemic outbreak then there is guidance available on Consumer Protection. If you run a travel business, Tourism New Zealand has information available.
Employment NZ has specific guidance and FAQ’s in response to COVID-19 involving how to manage self-isolation and sick leave. Now that there is one reported case of COVID-19 confirmed in New Zealand, it is important to understand the Workplace response to COVID-19, as preparation and knowledge is manage this in your workplace. If you are an employer wondering if it is okay to let other employees know that a colleague is sick? The answer is Yes, and this is why.
If you are unsure of when to use the serious threat exception, then the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has more information.
Health and Safety
Due to the increased risk to health and safety, if you have any concerns regarding information around COVID-19, Ministry of Health has provided a guide around this. Free health advice and help is provided about COVID-19 including registering self-isolation. You can call, 24 hours a day and 7 days in a week on 0800 358 5453. For international sims call +64 9 358 5453
Worksafe New Zealand has provided more information on the business and worker requirement for keeping people safe and well in the workplace.
If you work in an education centre, or are a parent or caregiver, guidance is provided form the Ministry of Education around what to do in certain circumstances.
It is important to make sure you and your employees are in a safe environment and if symptoms are picked up on please seek help from the links provided above. Therefore, educating and gaining the right knowledge around situations like this is just as important to avoid any further complications.
Having policies and the right guidance during a situation like the COVID-19 really helps and if this is something that you are thinking about doing or need more information on contact us on (09) 377 5200