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Phase Two Omicron update – what you need to know

Tēnā koutou,

Aotearoa is now in Phase Two of the Omicron response plan, and to ensure businesses in our region are best prepared we’ve distilled and linked key information and support to help you navigate the changes and impacts on your business and teams.

Isolation Requirements Reduced

The required isolation period has now been reduced. If somebody in your business tests positive, they will be required to isolate for ten days. Household contacts will now complete their isolation periods of ten days simultaneously, rather than sequentially. If somebody in your business is a contact of a positive case, they will be required to isolate for seven days.

Contact tracing will not be used to the same extent in identifying contacts, and individuals are no longer required to isolate if they are in the same venue as a COVID-19 case, only if they are part of that case's party. For more on isolation requirements please click here.

Bubble of One Worker Exemption - available to all businesses

The Bubble of One Worker Exemption is available to all businesses meaning businesses can have an employee who is a close contact on site if this worker is not customer facing, is vaccinated with no symptoms and can maintain a ‘bubble of one’ while at work (including travel to and from work).

These workers are not required to use Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) as part of this, nor are businesses required to register for 'bubble of one'. For more details please click here.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme - available to some businesses

Workers at registered critical services who are vaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be able to continue to work if they return a negative Rapid Antigen Test before each day/shift they are at work. They will only be allowed to go to work – not anywhere else.

Workers who are participating in the scheme will be able to collect free Rapid Antigen Test kits from a collection site. For more information on this scheme, and the process for collecting and undertaking a Rapid Antigen Test please click here.

Leave Support Scheme - available for businesses with employees who can't work from home

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available to employers to support staff required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and who can’t work at home during that period. To find out if your business is eligible, please click here.

Short Term Absence Payment - available for businesses with employees who can't work from home

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 if your business is eligible, please click here.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme - available to SME's

The Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) is available for small to medium businesses and organisations struggling with a financial loss due to COVID-19. Applications are open until 31 December 2023.

IRD will administer the payments and repayments of this scheme. To find out if your business is eligible, please click here.

Moving to Phase Two reinforces the need for your business to be prepared for potential workforce shortages, due to staff being sick or needing to self-isolate. It also means being ready to manage expectations around possible further supply chain issues. 
Please ensure you get in touch with our Business Team if you have any questions or need support with the challenges your business is facing and to ensure you have a plan in place for your business and staff.

Ngā mihi nui,

The Team at CEDA

This was published in the 60 Seconds with CEDA newsletter on February 15, 2022. Sign up here to receive our newsletters directly

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