The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has impacted countries across the world, and is impacting how we do business in New Zealand.
Level three pandemic control protocols are currently in place. The New Zealand Government has indicated a general lockdown and level four control protocols will be in place for at least four weeks, as of 11:59pm on Wednesday 25 March. This means any workers in roles deemed non-essential will not be able to continue their work until these level four control measures are lifted.
Prior to the lockdown and implementation of level four protocols, contractors should be actively communicating with clients and/or head contractors around what work can continue and ensure there is shared understanding of what services are essential and which are not.
A list of services defined as essential as of 8pm on Monday 23 March has been published at https://covid19.govt.nz/assets/essential-services-list.pdf. Any updates will be published at https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/. Further updates have been provided by the Construction Industry Council (read the update) and New Zealand Transport Agency (read the update).
CCNZ is continuing to seek clarification on what parts of civil construction are considered essential services, the protocols for essential service workers and the impacts on contractual issues. We will notify members when concrete answers are known.
The Construction Industry Council and Construction Health and Safety New Zealand published joint advice for the construction and building industry on 24 March. This can be read here.
The New Zealand Transport Agency issued a statement regarding State Highway works on 24 March. This can be read here. If you have any queries around essential services you can contact the Government's essential services line at at 0508 377 388 or email email@example.com.
Clearly lifeline utilities will need to remain operational. These are defined as: "entities that provide essential infrastructure services to the community such as water, wastewater, transport, energy and telecommunications."
Again, it is critically important for contractors to communicate with clients about their intentions prior to - and after - moving to level four pandemic controls. Our current understanding is that:
- Shutdown of non-essential services will be total once the country moves to level four control measures. The only works allowed to continue will be those needed because of immediate risk to safety.
- We expect that critical maintenance of water, energy and communications infrastructure will continue. But routine maintenance and capital works are likely to be out during the lock down period.
- The current definition of an essential business for the building and construction sector from the COVID-19 website is:
- Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure
- Any entity involved in building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work
- Any entity that performs or is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes.
To further clarify this definition, an essential business is:
- Any entity or occupation involved in the supply of electricity, gas, water, waste water (sanitation), or
- Any entity or occupation involved in building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work
- Any entity that has regulatory responsibilities in relation to building consenting and compliance and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes.
- Those continuing with works as essential services will need to put in place protocols for staff continuing work to comply with government and client requirements.
Further general advice and information is available below.
General advice is available at www.covid19.govt.nz.
Wage subsidies and leave payments are available to businesses impacted by COVID-19. To be eligible for the wage subsidy, businesses must have experienced a 30 per cent drop in revenue in any month between January and June.
The leave payment is for people who cannot work due to self isolation, COVID-19 infection or care of a dependent. Tax relief is also available for businesses.
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