Covid-19 close contacts no longer need to self-isolate, under new rules brought into effect by the NZ Government last Friday.
From 11.59pm 24 February, only positive cases and household contacts need to isolate for 10 days, and those with symptoms need to isolate and get a test. Asymptomatic close contacts do not need to isolate, but should monitor for symptoms.
Bubble of one exemption
Household contacts who are vaccinated and asymptomatic may continue to work as long as they are able to maintain a ‘bubble of one’.
The ‘bubble of one’ means they are not in a customer-facing role, and are able to effectively isolate themselves at work, subject to specific requirements. They must continue to self-isolate outside work for the usual 10 days.
These workers do not need to use RATs during their 10-day isolation period, and businesses do not need to register for a ‘bubble of one’.
Close Contact Exemption Scheme
Fully vaccinated, asymptomatic household contacts will also be able to return to work if they are registered as a critical worker, once they return a negative RAT result.
For your workers to be considered critical, you need to register as a Critical Service with the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, and identify workers that are required to maintain your operations.
Critical workers participating in the Scheme will need to self-isolate outside of work for 10 days, and are only permitted to travel to and from work and their closest RAT kit collection site.
These workers must also maintain health measures to minimise exposure in the workplace, albeit not as stringent as the ‘bubble of one’ requirements.
Covid Support Payment eligibility expanded
The NZ Government also announced expanded eligibility for the Covid Support Payment, which provides funds to businesses struggling due to the Omicron outbreak.
Businesses are eligible if they can show a drop in revenue of 40% or more during a 7-day period from 16 February 2022, compared to a 7-day period in either 5 January – 15 February 2022, or a new alternate comparison period of 5 January 2021 – 15 February 2021.
Each Covid Support Payment will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000.
Applications open today – 28 February 2022.
The NZSA team.