COVID-19:how will workplaces operate once NZ moves to Level 3 COVID-19: how will workplaces operate?

On 16 April 2020, the Prime Minister supplied information on how working life will look when the government makes the decision to move New Zealand to Level 3. So far as daily life, in general, is concerned, many of the features of Level 4 will remain, including the requirement to mainly be at home in one’s bubble and to limit contact with others.

People will still have to work from home if that is possible. Businesses will be able to open the premises. However, the question of whether someone goes into work will shift from whether the workplace operates an essential service to whether it can provide the necessary safety to workers through physical distancing and contactless engagement with customers.

Businesses only accessed by staff, and without a customer-facing function, can only open if they observe strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.

Other than essential businesses, businesses accessed by the public — for example, retail, hardware stores and restaurants — will only be able to open for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.

Travel restrictions will remain but move from local to regional. Inter-regional travel will be limited to essential workers and a few others with exemptions.

Public venues will remain closed.

The Prime Minister cautioned that Level 3 was a progression, “not a rush to normality”. Her press release covers other areas of life that will undergo change once Level 3 is in place: who can be part of a bubble; the partial reopening of education; and the numbers attending and conditions on what occurs at weddings and funerals.

Useful complementary information on what Level 3 will mean may be found on the government COVID-19 website. Further information relevant to businesses has been provided by Business New Zealand.