Weekly Digest – 25 January 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Support is Underway to Reduce Impact of Supply Chain Disruption

While the supply chain disruptions caused by the Omicron variant is inevitable, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said support is available for infected individuals, contacts, and businesses.

You can find details of the Leave Support Scheme, Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, Short-Term Absence Payment, and Events Transition Support Scheme below. You can also use this Find COVID-19 Support tool to help you find the support options you’re eligible for.

The Finance Minister announced further targeted support measures may be made available in the coming weeks, as there are resources within the COVID Response and Recovery Fund that can be used to manage the immediate response to Omicron.

NZ-Cook Islands Travel Bubble Remains Open

Cook Islands has decided to keep its travel bubble with New Zealand open despite the spread of the Omicron variant. The Cook Islands has a double-dose vaccination rate of 99.6%, with 70% having had a booster.

Red Traffic Light Setting Explained

All of New Zealand moved to the red traffic light setting at 11:59pm on Sunday after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern due to the community spread of the Omicron variant. Here’s what you can and can’t do:

  • Anyone can travel around the country. You don’t need to be vaccinated or have a negative test result, unless you’re travelling by airline or ferry.
  • Vaccinated people can gather at home or at venues with a limit of 100 people, while unvaccinated individuals can gather at home or at venues that don’t require vaccine passes with a limit of 25 people.
  • Businesses can open with and without vaccine mandates, and employers must follow gathering limits.
  • Hospitality venues that use vaccine certificates can open to up to 100 people. Those who choose not to check vaccination status will have to go contactless.
  • Shops, outdoor markets, banks, and takeaway-only businesses can open with capacity limits based on 1-metre distancing.
  • Wearing of face masks is mandatory on certain settings such as on domestic flights, public transport, rideshare vehicles, inside a retail business, inside public venues or facilities, in indoor settings, and when visiting a health care service facility.

More information about the red setting can be found on the Unite Against COVID website.

Government Orders 5,000 Air Cleaners for Schools

The government has ordered 5000 portable air cleaners to be used in schools to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, just 500 of these are expected to arrive by March and the rest will arrive in June. Additionally, the government is distributing 2500 C02 monitors which can be used to check which areas are not already well ventilated.

Change in Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is now a weekly payment, instead of a two-week payment amid the change in the periods of self-isolation.

This scheme is available to employers and the self-employed to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

You can learn more about it here.

Events Transition Support Scheme Launched

The Events Transition Support Scheme opened last week, covering 90% of unrecoverable costs for major events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. It will apply to live, in-person paid events with over 5,000 attendees from 17 December until 3 April 2022.

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.

  • When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
  • Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year.
  • Applications are open until 31 December 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within 2 years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of 5 years.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker. You can find the details here.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of support available to businesses.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.