Alert Level changes should be confirmed now if conditions allow

Aug 23, 2020

The EMA is urging the Government to announce tomorrow that Auckland will be moving to Alert Level 2 at midnight next Wednesday, August 26, so that businesses can be prepared.

“The impact on business continues to escalate and they need some certainty about when they can get back to an alert level that enables them to operate more normally,” says Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.

“We know that the negative effect on people’s mental wellbeing and the financial pressures are rising quite sharply in the business community.”

He is also urging the Government to adapt the guidelines at all alert levels based on updated knowledge of COVID-19 and public health concerns, for example the use of masks.

“Along with the other members of the BusinessNZ Network we worked with the Government on the initial workplace guidelines and we are keen to do so again. Businesses are highly conscious of and compliant with Health and Safety requirements and will do whatever is necessary to be able to operate normally,” says Mr O’Riley.

“Businesses and the community need a level of confidence that they are doing the right thing to protect themselves and others, for example when they are travelling to and from work on public transport, so the guidelines must be adapted to be very clear what they are expected to do.”

Regardless, says Mr O’Riley, if conditions allow the Government should let Auckland businesses put plans in place to swing back into action first thing next Thursday, which they have proved they can do safely under existing guidelines.

The alert level change could also remove the major, ongoing issue with regional border control which has caused no end of problems, including essential goods and employees not being able to get through, Mr O’Riley says.

“Things have improved but it’s still taking those who are entitled to hours to get through because of the sheer volume of vehicles.”

“We’ve also seen management of quarantine facilities tightened up and tracing appears to be working better so if we’re confident in those systems let’s get the economy back to work before more businesses are forced into closure.”

For more information please see the EMA’s dedicated site covid19.ema.co.nz, call AdviceLine on 0800 300 362, or the Business Helpline on 0800 500 362.

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