The Prime Minister has released an updated alert levels chart that reflects what a change to alert level 3 would look like.
- We must keep to our original bubble but can expand this bubble to caregivers and children in shared care arrangements.
- Most businesses can open and workplaces move from ‘essential operations only’ to ‘safe operations only’. People must still work from home if they can and reduce contact with one another.
- Businesses need social distancing and good hygiene practices. This also applies to people who work in people’s homes like plumbers and electricians.
- Public-facing bars, restaurants and cafes remain closed and so do malls and retail stores however food delivery, drive-through, online shopping and click and collect can happen.
- Level 3 will include the partial reopening of education up to year 10 for children of workers who are unable to work from home or have another supervision option. Attendance is purely voluntary. Children who are able to stay at home and do distance learning should do so. Tertiary education will mostly be through distance learning.
- Travel restrictions remain – should keep travel local and regional but not across regions unless essential
- Recreational activities will be relaxed which means people will be able to swim, surf and fish from the shore. However, no contact is still required. Motorised water activities are not allowed.
- Funerals and Tangi will be able to go ahead but no more than 10 people.
Weddings can go ahead with the same 10 people limit but no food or receptions.
- People should continue to act like you and those around you still have COVID-19 and people should keep a note of where they’ve been.
A decision on what exact date we will move from Alert Level 4 to 3 has not as yet been made.
This will be announced on Monday 20 April, so keep an eye out for my next newsletter for more detail about what it will mean for you.
I'm keen to hear your thoughts on how changes between the alert levels will affect you and look forward to your feedback.
The Ministry of Education has announced a distance learning package to help our schools and children during this time. Hard copy resource packs are also available for those families without internet access at home.
In reality, not every family will be prepared to work from home and school from home. I believe there is still much more work to be done around greater support for parents who are taking an active role in their children's education while our children are still learning from home. Having said that, it's important that our children get back in school as safely as possible.
More support should also be given to other education workers like support staff, relief teachers and those working with children with additional learning needs during this time.
It was good to see the additional support for students but the reality is that there are a group of students who are in hardship right now having lost their part-time jobs. Increasing the course-related costs subsidy by $1000 means an additional $1000 students will have to repay when all this has settled.
While some students will have benefited from the wage subsidy too, not all have. It's important that we also help those students who are without their family or social support networks during this time. Helplines and programmes like the Low Down can be useful at this time and I encourage students to access those facilities if they need to.
If you are a student who has tried the other avenues but still need help, please get in touch with me.
A new relief package for SMEs has been announced. The new measures include:
- greater flexibility for taxpayers in respect of statutory tax deadlines
- changes to the tax loss continuity rules
- a tax loss carry-back scheme
- measures to support commercial tenants and landlords
- further business consultancy support
While its welcome news, we should also start thinking of ways to support businesses to invest when we come out of lockdown to ensure also their medium and longer-term survival.
Key COVID-19 contacts and resources
- All COVID-19 related updates - www.covid19.govt.nz
- Healthline - for COVID-19 health-related concerns. The call is free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 358 5453 (or for international SIMs call +64 9 358 5453)
- All of Government Welfare Factsheet
- Work and Income - phone 0800 559 009
- Government helpline - 0800 779 997 (8 am–1 am, 7 days a week). 0800 22 66 57 (9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday)
- 'Need to talk?' call 1737. Talk with a qualified counsellor free, 24/7
For more information on any of the topics covered in the newsletter, or for information on other community and neighbourhood support organisations available in your area that can also help, please get in contact.
- Cambridge - 07 827 5572
- South Waikato - 07 886 5554
- Taupo - 07 376 5563
- Freephone - 0508 TAUPOMP (828766)
Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family or acquaintances who may find this information valuable.
Please remember - stay home and save lives.