To manage the spread of Omicron in the community, the Government has made changes to the Covid traffic light settings.
All of New Zealand is currently at the Orange traffic light setting.
Current health settings
Only confirmed cases and household contacts (people who live in the same house) are now required to isolate.
Critical workers can use RAT tests daily so they can go to work even if they are a household contact, so long as their employer is signed up to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) close contract exemption scheme (CCES) scheme.
Other people should monitor for symptoms but are not required to self-isolate.
- Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be considered enough to diagnose symptomatic people.
- RATs are readily available from doctors, pharmacies and community testing centres.
- Critical workers can use these tests daily to be able to go to work even if a member of their household is positive, so long as their employer is signed up to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Close Contract Exemption Scheme (CCES) scheme.
- People testing positive will be notified by text message, not a phone call, and will be sent a link to complete an online contact tracing form.
- You can access your Covid test results and record RAT test results on mycovidrecord.health.nz
- Contacts may be automatically notified from the contact tracing form, but cases can also be expected to notify their close contacts themselves.
- Workers should continue to notify their employer as soon as they receive a positive test.
- Self isolation is 7 days for positive cases and household contacts.
Frequently asked questions
The Government has set up a new ‘Close Contact Exemption scheme’ for ‘critical services’ including ‘food production and its supply chain’, and ‘transport’.
The horticulture industry believes the entire industry falls within the scope of ‘food production and its supply chain’.
Businesses need to register online as a critical service here:
Close Contact Exemption Scheme registration portal — Business Connect
You will need:
- A RealMe login
- New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). If you’re a sole trader and don’t have an NZBN, you can enter in your business name
- Address details for each location that you may have critical workers. You can select a region, and add multiple locations
- Select a sector category - you may also need to select a sub-category. You can upload supporting PDFs
- Total number of workers in the business (not just the ones who might be critical)
- Number of critical workers at each location they’ve listed
- After completing the above steps, you will see a summary screen and must digitally sign a declaration confirming your details. This will be followed by a confirmation screen.
An email will be sent giving confirmation you are on the register and contain a unique ID number. This email is the ‘Critical Services Register Letter’ that will be one of the documents you need to provide to a worker to collect a RAT (see below).
If you need assistance while registering, you can contact MBIE’s phone line, 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).
Freephone: 0800 424 946
The use and type of mask appears relevant to the definition of a close contact. The Government has mandated the use of P2/N95 masks for health and border workers in high-risk environments.
If you can source P2/N95 masks, we recommend that you use them in indoor working environments. P2/N95 masks offer a high level of protection, more so than medical masks, reducing the wearer’s risk and or level of exposure to the Covid-19 virus.
Disposable medical masks or 'surgical'/'medical' masks are the next best option if you cannot source P2 or N95 masks.
All masks should be fitted properly to cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaps above, below or on the sides.
N95 masks are available at most chemists or stores that stock health and safety equipment.
Disposable medical masks can be purchased from retail stores such as supermarkets or pharmacies.
It would appear that the Government sees outdoor working environments as much lower risk. However, we recommend that workers either always maintain a 1.5m distance or if that is not possible, wear a P2/N95 mask.
The Government has now stood up the RATs ordering and distribution system for Phases Two and Three of the Omicron response.
Critical workers who are vaccinated and asymptomatic can access RATs through the Close Contact Exemption scheme. The exemption only applies to going to work, not other travel.
The order form below must be completed by the worker, not the business.
Please note in some areas, it would appear that RATs are not available yet but we expect that situation to change.