New restrictions on businesses under Alert Levels 2 and 3: what you need to know

Thursday 13 August 2020

Authors: David Friar, Tania Goatley and Morgan Powell

​The government moved Auckland to Alert Level 3 on 12 August 2020, with the rest of New Zealand moving to Alert Level 2. The restrictions that apply to businesses under the Alert Levels are set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order made on 12 August 2020.

We set out details of these restrictions below. In addition, business will need to consider their health and safety obligations under the new Alert Levels. Click here for our earlier discussion of these issues. Tenants and landlords will also need to consider whether clause 27.5 applies to suspend rent obligations. Click he​re for our earlier update.

Auckland: Restrictions under Al​​ert Level 3

Premises must be closed unless the business complies with the Alert Level 3 requirements. These requirements differ depending on the category that a business is in. However, in all cases, the business must ensure that a government-issued QR code is displayed in a prominent place near the entrance. This is a new requirement from the last lockdown.

The primary categories are as follows.

Essential busin​​esses

These are supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies, accommodation services, licensing trusts and hardware stores (but only for sale to trade customers). The Order refers to them as “Category B" businesses. They must have systems in place to ensure that:

  • Employees on the premises are 1 metre away from other employees and 2 metres away from customers and visitors (to the extent practicable),

  • Customers and visitors on the premises are 2 metres away from all other people (to the extent practicable),

  • No food or drink is served on the premises (except for accommodation services).

Venue businesses

These are businesses that provide a venue for gatherings (whether as the main or ancillary part of the business). These businesses must have systems in place to ensure that:

  • The premises are only used for a controlled gathering (namely, weddings, funerals and tangihanga with no more than 10 people present and at which no food or drink is served),

  • All people on the premises remain 2 metres away from other people (to the extent practicable),

  • In addition to displaying a government-issued QR code, businesses must “otherwise support contract tracing" of people who use the premises.

It is unclear what the requirement to “otherwise support" contact tracing requires in addition to displaying a QR code. The government has announced that it is considering this obligation further.​

Other businesses

This category includes almost all other businesses. The Order refers to them as “Category C" businesses. They must have systems in place to ensure that:

  • Employees on the premises are 1 metre away from all other people (to the extent practicable),

  • No customers or visitors are permitted to enter the premises (except to collect goods in a way that minimises physical contact and that does not involve entering a building),

  • In addition to displaying the QR code, they must also “otherwise support contract tracing" of people who use the premises.

In addition to the requirements set out in the Order, the government's COVID-19 website states that “Under Alert Level 3, you are required to work from home if you can."

Other restrictions

There are also restrictions on travel from Auckland to other Alert Level areas for businesses in all categories, except to the extent necessary for the purposes of an essential business.

There is an exception to all of these requirements for business in all categories for necessary work to maintain premises, receive stock or freight, and support employees who are working from home.

The rest of New Zealand: Restrictions under Alert Leve​​l 2

All businesses in the rest of New Zealand must comply with the following requirements.

Business such as offices, factories, gyms, pools, libraries must ensure that:

  • Employees, customers and visitors are at least 1 metre away from each other (to the extent practicable),

  • The government-issued QR code is displayed in a prominent place near the entrance,

  • In addition to displaying the QR code, have “other systems and process in place to support contact tracing" of people who use the premises.

Event facilities such as cinemas, theatres, stadiums, conference venues and casinos must ensure that:

  • No more than 100 customers are in any 1 defined space on the premises at any 1 time,

  • Employees, customers and visitors are at least 1 metre away from each other (to the extent practicable),

  • The government-issued QR code is displayed in a prominent place near the entrance,

  • In addition to displaying the QR code, have “other systems and process in place to support contact tracing" of people who use the premises.

Business that sell provide food or drink (such as restaurants and cafes) must ensure that:

  • No more than 100 customers are in any 1 defined space on the premises at any 1 time,

  • Customers are seated,

  • There is at least 1 metre between tables,

  • Only 1 worker serves any table (to the extent practicable),

  • Employees, customers and visitors are at least 1 metre away from each other when not seated at a table (to the extent practicable),

  • The government-issued QR code is displayed in a prominent place near the entrance,

  • In addition to displaying the QR code, have “other systems and process in place to support contact tracing" of people who use the premises.

The requirement in respect of food and drink do not apply to accommodation services, food or drink provided to employees, vending machines, and customers seated insider cinemas and theatres.

All other businesses and services must ensure that:

  • Employees on the premises (or who carry out work for the business) are 1 metre away from other employees and 2 metres away from customers and visitors (to the extent practicable),

  • Customers and visitors on the premises are 2 metres away from all other people (to the extent practicable),

  • The government-issued QR code is displayed in a prominent place near the entrance, and

  • In addition to displaying the QR code, also “otherwise support contract tracing" of people who use the premises (or work for the business).

For businesses that cannot operate without physical contact or close proximity, such as massage, hairdressing and professional sports, the requirements for physical distancing do not apply to the extent that employees are required to have that contact or proximity to carry out the services.

There are also restrictions on travel to Auckland for businesses in all categories, except to the extent necessary for the purposes of an essential business.

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please get in touch with the contacts listed or your usual Bell Gully adviser.​​​​


Disclaimer

This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

For more information
  • David Friar

    Partner Auckland
  • Tania Goatley

    Partner Auckland
  • Morgan Powell

    Senior Associate Auckland
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