There is plenty of change coming for New Zealand businesses around COVID-19; here are some helpful links.

Preparing for the new framework

At 11:59pm, on December 2, all of New Zealand will move to the traffic light system. Auckland will move to Red. Settings for the rest of New Zealand are yet to be decided on.

This means businesses need to be prepared to shift from the current Alert Level system and its associated restrictions, to the new Traffic Light model. 

You can familiarise yourself with the new Protection Framework here. 

Vaccine passes & mandates

My Vaccine Pass is an official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use within Aotearoa New Zealand. Anyone aged 12 and over who has had 2 COVID-19 vaccinations administered in New Zealand, or who has been given a medical exemption, can now request a My Vaccine Pass.

Under the new Protection Framework, regardless of Traffic Light status (green, orange or red), businesses, retail, and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people.

Businesses, events, organisations, community, and a range of sectors may legally choose to implement a vaccination entry requirement for customers. Note, essential services (such as supermarkets and pharmacies) will not require a vaccine pass to enter the business. 

If a business, organisation or service does not wish to request proof of vaccine, they will have to operate with strict limits on capacity and space requirements. They may need to close in Orange and/or Red levels.


The traffic light system also needs a new approach to how we manage COVID-19 in our communities and the Government has set out next steps around self-isolation. 

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them, needs to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus. There are two ways to self-isolate in Aotearoa: Isolating at home or in a suitable alternative accommodation, or in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility.

Isolating at home

When you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to isolate for at least 10 days while you recover from COVID-19. This can be in your home or suitable alternative accommodation.

Anyone you live with will need to stay home for the entire time you are isolating. If someone else in your household tests positive for COVID-19, you will be advised on how much longer you need to isolate for.

Managed isolation

Managed isolation facilities are in hotels across New Zealand where you can isolate for free, with your household for at least 10 days.

Support while self-isolating

While you are isolating at home, you will have a dedicated contact person to check up on you and make sure that you and your whānau are safe.

What it means to self-isolate:
  • Stay home. Do not go to work, school or public places.
  • Limit contact with others you live with — for example, sleep by yourself and limit the time you spend in shared spaces. If you cannot, you should stay at least two-metres apart and wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth when near others.
  • Do not share items with others in your household — for example, dishes, toothbrushes, and towels.
  • Do your own laundry.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. This includes items frequently touched like door handles, light switches and phones.
  • We recommend opening windows to increase fresh air flow inside. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • If you need food, prescriptions or essential items get friends or family to leave them on your doorstep, or get supplies delivered.

Read full details on community management of COVID-19 here. 

Government business support

IRD has a number of new measures in place, designed to help businesses and their employees deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Their focus is on helping customers understand the tax implications of these changes.

ACC also has put support in place around levies to help businesses manage through COVID-19.

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support businesses or organisations with one-off costs due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. This is available to eligible firms at the same time as the WSS. 

The Government is to increase the amount and frequency of the Resurgence Support Payment. 

The frequency of payments will also change.  They will be available fortnightly, on November 12, until Auckland moves into the new COVID Protection Framework.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme (LSS) is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home.

This means your workers:

  • can’t come into work because they are in one of the affected groups and have been told to self-isolate, and
  • can’t work from home.

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

It’s to help businesses keep paying eligible workers who:

  • cannot work from home, and
  • need to miss work to stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result (in line with public health guidance).

If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan.

You can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.

  • When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
  • Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year. You can use the Revenue Estimator Tool to better understand your revenue.
  • Applications are open until December 31, 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within two years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of five years.