Are you aware that if you offer a residential service, including support in the home, and you have a staff member who is a close contact of a confirmed COVID case, they can still work for you without the need to socially isolate? Read about the Close Contact Exemption Scheme below:
Close Contact Exemption Scheme
Businesses can register as critical services if they can respond ‘yes’ to these questions
- Is your business or organisation involved in one of the following basic needs areas?
- Food production and manufacturing
- Distribution and sale of basic food (eg supermarkets, dairies, food banks)
- Principal accommodation (eg providing people with their primary residence, such as their home, an apartment in a hotel, social/emergency housing, or a self-isolation location)
- Health services, including pharmacies and services provided for deceased persons
(NZDSN has contacted the Business.govt.nz helpline to confirm that disability support workers going into a person’s home to provide essential support would be included as critical for the purposes of the Close Contact Exemption Scheme.)
- Will the temporary closure of your business or organisation cause significant economic, social or physical harm to the community?
Business’s can register through self-declaration https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/close-contact-exemption-scheme/
During the Omicron response, workers at registered critical services who are a Close Contact may continue to work. They are critical workers.
To qualify for an exemption as a critical worker, they will need to be deemed critical by their employer work in a critical service, as listed below:
- be fully vaccinated
- be asymptomatic
- return a negative rapid antigen (RAT) test unsupervised before each day/shift they work during their isolation period
- follow specific health protocols
- only go to work — they cannot go anywhere else.
Workers should talk to their employer if they think they meet the criteria to be part of the Close Contact Exemption Scheme.
Eligible workers will be able to collect free rapid antigen tests from collection sites.