A Danish woman tested positive in Queenstown for COVID-19 on Sunday, 15 March 2020, being the first case in the South Island and the 8th in New Zealand.
TODD & WALKER Law understand the local community are concerned over the affect the announcement from Jacinda Arden directing everyone travelling from overseas to New Zealand to self-isolate. This is already having a huge impact on the airline industry and there are further concerns as to how this will affect Kiwi jobs and the New Zealand economy, particularly Queenstown, being New Zealand’s tourism capital.
The important thing is to remain calm and support each other, anybody who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or a doctor. It is important to mention recent travel history, and any known contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and wait on the phone for however long to get through.
We understand that a public information campaign will be launched tomorrow and the Finance Minister will announce a business continuity package and the Health Minister will announce a suite of additional health measures. At TODD & WALKER Law we have a dedicated team working to provide any updates to the community and guidance on any questions that may come as a result of the business community package.
Guidance to employers and employees:
- An employee in self-isolation ought to be offered the ability to work from home, where possible and paid normally.
- If the Ministry of Health has advised an employee to self-isolate, and cannot practicably work from home, then paid sick leave should be considered. Other forms of sick leave can be considered and used by agreement between the employer and employee.
- If an employee is sick, or needs to care for a sick dependant, paid sick leave (and anticipated sick leave) may be used. If unavailable, paid special leave ought to be considered by agreement between the employer and employee.
- Contractor pay and leave is not covered and therefore an employer and contractor can agree to payment arrangements as they wish to.
- Schools that were considering closing their doors are advised to listen to the advice of the Government.
- NZ Chamber of Commerce – Queenstown is looking into an urgent review of the conditions for Essential Skills Visas (given the disruption).
- Call NZ Chamber of Commerce – Queenstown: +64 302 9916 or email your contact detail to: firstname.lastname@example.org if you require business assistance.
- If your business is not affected by COVID-19 and you wish to assist the community, please contact the NZ Chamber of Commerce – Queenstown outlining your skills.
- If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
- The Ministry advises people in self-isolation to stay at home and family and friends are able to drop off food, and if you use an app to deliver food, advise the operator that you require the food to be left at the door.
- Do not panic buy, there have been travel restrictions on China for over a month and those supply routes continue.
- Scientist Michelle Dickinson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have released a video aiming to explain the outbreak to children and how to keep safe in a clear and simple way. Please see video here.
If you work in the hotel management industry and have any questions or concerns as to how to manage staff and guests who were required to self-isolate, and how to deal with the management of this, please do not hesitate TODD & WALKER Law for any guidance.
The Ministry of Health has also provided simple guidelines and advice and is able to have these translated for guests.
The restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days and there will be more advice for self-isolation this week.
Symptoms to look out for include a sore throat and a dry cough, but can also include fever, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
Community support to those unable to support themselves should be increased.
With the situation evolving quickly, we must all do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety of our community. If you have any questions about how this situation may relate to you, your workplace or friends and family, please do not hesitate to contact one of our dedicated Employment team members.