Insights, Law Changes

“Delta” Level 2

At 11:59pm on Tuesday 7 September, all of New Zealand except for Auckland will go down to Alert Level 2. We have all been at Level 2 before, but this time, due to the greater transmissibility of the Delta variant, there are some new rules. Below we run through the main rules of the so-called “Delta” Level 2 including the increased requirements.

All businesses can open at this Level 2, but with restrictions. From 7 September all businesses will be responsible for enforcing mandatory record keeping (although they won’t be required to eject customers who refuse to sign in). All venues must display a QR code and have an alternative sign-in method. All businesses must follow public health rules and implement social distancing of at least one metre between workers. In places like retail stores, shopping malls, libraries, gyms, museums, swimming pools and parts of offices where customers may be present, customers and clients must be kept two metres apart. Maintaining physical distancing may require limiting the amount of people who can be on the premises or in certain areas at the same time.

There are new requirements about mask wearing. Legally a face covering must be worn:

  • On public transports and at departure points;
  • In taxis or ride-share vehicles (both drivers and customers);
  • Visiting healthcare or aged-care facilities;
  • Inside retail businesses (both customers and workers) such as supermarkets, stores, shopping malls and indoor marketplaces;
  • In the public areas of courts and tribunals, Government agencies and social service providers (both visitors and workers);
  • Working at close contact businesses (e.g. barbers, beauticians and hairdressers);
  • Working in a public facing role in a hospitality business (e.g. cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs);
  • At indoor public facilities (both visitors and workers) such as museums and libraries (but not swimming pools).

There is a cap on the number of people who can be present at events, gatherings, hospitality businesses and certain public venues. Social gatherings such as weddings, funerals and tangihanga can go ahead, and event and entertainment facilities such as cinemas, stadiums and concert venues can open, as well as hospitality businesses such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, but all have a cap of 50 people for indoor spaces and 100 people for outdoor spaces. In such capped venues only social distancing of one metre between customers and workers is required. However, in hospitality businesses all customers must be seated and dance floors are closed.

It’s great to be returning to Level 2 and getting back to business. However, Delta has really changed the game and we will all have to adjust to the new requirements. But as long as we follow the rules, we can all enjoy greater freedoms and better business opportunities.