With New Zealand now in Phase 2 of the Omicron response, there are two new pathways to support business continuity.
- Close contact exemption scheme.
- Bubble of one.
They will allow workers who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case to return to work during their period of self-isolation. Construction businesses will be able to qualify for these pathways for some workers in some circumstances.
For the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, Workers at registered critical services who are vaccinated and asymptomatic close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be able to continue to work, as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period, and follow specific health protocols.
Testing and returning to work during Omicron – business.govt.nz
Critical worker definition – building and construction
Construction businesses will be able to qualify for this scheme for some workers in some circumstances, for example:
- Any building, construction or maintenance services that are supporting or maintaining other critical services (such as hospital repairs).
- Any building product supply or manufacturing work where the products are required for critical services.
- Any building, construction or maintenance services that are necessary for ensuring public safety or protecting people or property (such as essential repairs to a home).
Information for self-assessment and registration as a critical service – business.govt.nz
Understanding the ‘bubble of one’
The ‘Bubble of One’ option is available to any business or sole trader where a worker who is a close contact of a positive COVID-19 test can return on-site if this worker is not customer facing, and can maintain a ‘bubble of one’ while at work (including travel to and from work).
The worker must be vaccinated, asymptomatic, and is not required to take a Rapid Antigen Test. Businesses do not need to register for Bubble of One.
Testing and isolation requirements for businesses during Omicron — business.govt.nz