Essential business confusion ‘on the Government’ – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: September 1, 2021 at 12:21 am

BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope says its on the government if businesses are confused about whether they should be operating at level 4.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 25 people had exposure events outside their household and four workplaces had transmission of Covid-19 within staff.

These are generally essential worksites and tend not to be customer facing sites, she said.

Weve asked for further analysis as to the nature of these workplaces so we can assess whether our level 4 rules on who is operating is being adhered to and whether our public health protocols for those businesses that are operating are fit for purpose."

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She said, if the Government needed to tighten restrictions further, it would.

What we want to do is make sure were being dynamic. That if we're getting information that shows us we have workplaces are operating that we believe are outside what they should be at level 4 we need to respond to that.

At this stage Ive had nothing to suggest its anything other than essential food services, packaging services, logistics.

Screengrab

Workers have spread Covid-19 between them at four sites, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Its not a matter of business as usual, if youre operating, businesses have rules. We want to cast our eyes over that with a delta lens.

Do we need to change that up to a certain degree, ask businesses to do more outside the factory floor?

Weve got four sites at the moment where we know theres been transmission between workers. If we get evidence we need to tighten things up we will. Some will just be the protocols adapting to delta. Some of it may be us saying we think there are too many businesses operating outside of already the rules that are there.

Ardern said businesses should only be providing services that allow people to continue to look after themselves in their homes, or continue their work in their homes.

We want to make sure people arent operating around the fringes of that in a way we wouldnt expect.

There have been reports of workers surprised to be called in to work when they did not think they were providing essential services.

Hope said if businesses were operating when they were not essential, that was due to a lack of clarity in the rules.

Theyve had 18 months to get this right. Its on the government to make sure its providing much, much clearer advice around what youre able to do and what youre not able to under level 4. The obligation is on them to communicate much more clearly.

He said the rules had changed slightly due to the delta variant.

But its arrival in the community was not a surprise and the Government should have clarified the rules beforehand, not once the country had gone into level 4, he said.

It really lacks clarity.

Hansells Masterton executive chairman Alan Stewart says any further restrictions on operations would be "impossible."

"There is no reason why an essential business cannot operate safely provided they observe the rules. Hansells has safely operated under previous lockdown and is doing so again this time.

"The food supply chain would be interrupted if supplies did not go to supermarkets and companies such as ours need to continue producing not only to supply supermarkets while in lockdown but also when we come out as there would be huge out of stocks after business comes back to normal."

EMA chief executive Brett ORiley said if it was clear what was required in terms of PPE and social distancing there should not be a reason for businesses not to open.

That are a lot of businesses that are closed in level 4 that could be safer than some that are allowed to open.

He said his organisation was working through the rules with the Government to determine how the rules would work when businesses in level 3 needed support and supplies from businesses in Auckland that were meant to be closed under level 4.

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Essential business confusion 'on the Government' - Stuff.co.nz

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