On Tuesday 17 August 2021, New Zealand’s first case of COVID-19 community transmission in six months and first community transmission of the Delta variant was confirmed. As a result, the Government announced that all of New Zealand would enter Alert Level 4, entailing a complete lockdown effective from 23:59 that night. Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, the locations of the transmissions, were to go into lockdown for an initial seven days, with the remainder of the country in lockdown for at least three days.
At Alert Level 4 all businesses, except essential businesses, must close. Those who are able to may work from home. Travel is severely limited to allow only for access to essential services. Domestic regional travel, at Alert Level 4, is restricted to allow only for essential movement.
International travel advice remains the same. For New Zealanders wanting to leave New Zealand, official advice is ‘do not travel’. Individuals wanting to travel to or through New Zealand must continue to meet certain conditions, such as returning a negative pre-departure test and quarantining in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ), before access will be granted.
The Government has confirmed that it will support businesses through the lockdown. From 20 August 2021, employers can apply for the Wage Subsidy scheme under which they may be eligible for NZD 600 per week per full-time equivalent employee and NZD 359 per week per part-time employee if they expect a loss of 40% of revenue due to the alert level increase. Additionally, from 24 August 2021, employers can apply for the Resurgence Support Payment under which they may be eligible for up to NZD 1,500 (plus NZD 400 per full-time equivalent employee up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees) if they incur a loss of 30% of revenue due to the alert level increase. The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and Short Term Absence Payments also remain available. More information can be found on the Government’s website.