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HortNZ Omicron Update #6 – Move to Phase 2
The Government has announced that New Zealand will move to Phase 2 of the Omicron response at 11.59pm tonight, Tuesday 15 February, given the sharp increase in community cases.
At Phase 2, the isolation period for positive cases is reduced to 10 days and close contacts, to seven days as part of the drive to keep the supply chain operating. In addition, vaccinated people who either work alone, or have the capacity to do so, will be able to continue operating in a ‘bubble of one’ if they are identified as a close contact
Register now for the Close Contact Exemption scheme
If you have not registered your business yet, we strongly suggest you take the time now to go through the Close Contact Exemption scheme registration process before Covid numbers in the community rise any further.
Phase 2 of the Omicron response will see the Government – through the Ministry of Health – deploying rapid antigen tests (RATs) to registered businesses, so that as many critical workers as possible can stay working in the supply chain.
However, at this stage, the Government has not stood up the RAT ordering system and collection location network so there is no access to Government-provided RATs yet. We will let you know as soon as the Government stands the system up.
In terms of sourcing your own RATs, we are monitoring the situation and again, will let you know if there’s a favourable development.
Registering as a Critical Service
Businesses need to register online as a critical service here:
Close Contact Exemption Scheme registration portal — Business Connect
You will need:
- A RealMe login
- New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). If you’re a sole trader and don’t have an NZBN, you can enter in your business name
- Address details for each location that you may have critical workers. You can select a region, and add multiple locations
- Select a sector category – you may also need to select a sub-category. You can upload supporting PDFs
- Total number of workers in the business (not just the ones who might be critical)
- Number of critical workers at each location they’ve listed
- After completing the above steps, you will see a summary screen and must digitally sign a declaration confirming your details. This will be followed by a confirmation screen.
An email will be sent giving confirmation you are on the register and contain a unique ID number. This email is the ‘Critical Services Register Letter’ that will be one of the documents you need to provide to a worker to collect a RAT. Click here to read more about RATs.