Alert Level 2 means much tougher rules for businesses, workers and customers

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 06, 2021 |

Covid-19 alert levels are changing, with most of the country, apart from Auckland, moving to level 2 at midnight Tuesday.

At Alert Level 2, all businesses can operate and have customers on their premises. The Ministry of Health says all workers should keep at least 1 metre apart, where possible.

In places like retail stores, shopping malls, libraries, gyms, museums, swimming pools, and parts of offices where customers may be present, customers and clients on the premises need to stay 2 metres apart. In other places where there is a cap on the number of people who can be present — for example cafes, restaurants and bars, customers and clients on the premises only need to keep 1 metre apart.   To help achieve physical distancing, customers are not permitted to stand on public transport.

At Alert Level 2 cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs and takeaway services can open, but with extra safety measures. All customer-facing staff legally must wear a face covering while serving customers. All workers must be physically separated from each other and customers by 1 metre. Customers should wear a face covering wherever possible, except when eating and drinking.

All restaurants and cafes can have a maximum of 50 people, all seated, inside their premises at a time, and 100 people, all seated, within the defined outdoor space.

If you are dining in, you legally must: remain seated at your table unless you are entering or leaving the venue, using the bathroom or paying for your meal and be physically separated from other customers by 1 metre.

 At Alert Level 2, food courts can open but with physical distancing and extra hygiene measures. There may be reduced seating due to physical distancing. If you are waiting in line to order, keep 2 metres away from other customers and staff.

You can go to cafes to get counter food to take away to eat. It is up to the cafe to decide if customers can bring their own reusable cups or containers. The cafe must have good hygiene processes if it allows them.

At Alert Level 2, bars and nightclubs can open with seated service only. This means you will need to stay seated at your table unless you are entering or leaving the venue, using the bathroom or paying for your drinks. Dance floors are closed. You will need to order drinks through your server. Do not go up to the bar to order food or drinks.

You can play pool and use gaming machines if you can keep 1 metre apart from others. You can not eat or drink while playing pool.

Businesses must display an NZ COVID Tracer QR code in a prominent place at or near your main entrance. You also need to offer customers and visitors an alternative way to record their visit. 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.

For some businesses, close personal contact is required to deliver a service. This includes:

  • hairdressers

  • home help providers.

These businesses can operate if they have public health measures in place including:

  • providing ways for customers to record their visit

  • keeping customers 2 metres apart, including while they are waiting

  • good hygiene practices

  • disinfecting surfaces in between customers

  • making sure workers wear a face covering.

At Alert Level 2, your employees can go into someone’s home to work — for example, tradespeople, home cleaners, nannies and in-home care providers.

They must stay 2 metres apart from everyone in the home. We recommend having online payment options to minimise physical contact.

If your employees go into someone’s home to work, they should keep records of their visit to support contact tracing. This includes recording:

  • the date and time they arrive and leave a customer’s home

  • their customer’s contact details.

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 2, your employees can travel for work to other regions that are at Alert Level 1 or 2. Employees should keep a record of who they have been in contact with, and what transport services they used. 

If workers are using a company vehicle or travelling together in a work vehicle, try to limit the number of people travelling so people can safely distance. If physical distancing is difficult, we recommend employees wear a face covering. 

Make sure you clean and sanitise vehicles after use.

Everyone must wear a face covering on all public transport and domestic flights.

If workers need to cross the Alert Level boundary

Business or work travel across Alert Level 4 and 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 communites safe.

Your employees can only travel across the Alert Level 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.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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