Omicron Update #3 - ‘Critical’ workers – some more information

27 January 2022

When the Government provided information about how it intends to manage Omicron yesterday, it said ‘keeping critical workers going through the outbreak’ was a priority, in areas such as ‘food supply and infrastructure’. 

We have now been informed that the Government – through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) – will establish within the next two weeks a Critical Workforce Register to prioritise allocation of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to businesses and an online portal for applications, similar to that used for the Business Travel Registration system. 

RATs will be used to help critical workforces, businesses, and supply chains stay open. The Government yesterday emphasised their use in testing to do with critical workers being able to return to work.

HortNZ and product groups are engaging with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to ensure the definition of ‘critical’ covers all those businesses and workers that make up the fruit and vegetable supply chain. Currently, the definition of ‘critical’ is weighted towards domestic food supply only.

For more information on the Critical Services Register, the approach to returning to work and managing a COVID-19 case in your business, follow these two Government links:

Testing and returning to work during Omicron -

Managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business -

Lastly, if you have particular concerns or something is unclear, please email  

Read about the latest update about

Read Omicron Update #2 about the three-phases of the Red Traffic Light