4th May, 2020

Level 3 restrictions: How businesses can avoid attracting complaints

While New Zealand businesses are enjoying some newfound freedom, others are breaking the rules; and the Government isn’t happy about it.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government has received over 700 complaints regarding businesses breaking lockdown procedures. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry (MBIE) for Primary Industries will be following up.

In a statement to RNZ, WorkSafe said it would be conducting preliminary investigations over the phone. But noted they do have the option to send investigators to physical business premises.

Most of the complaints relate to social distancing: businesses are not putting procedures in place that keep customers adequately separated.

What are the guidelines?

Business owners might be confused about the new lockdown procedures, and what they can or can’t do.

So here’s a reminder about what Level 3 restrictions entail:

  • Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre in controlled environments like schools and workplaces
  • Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers

For the full list of restrictions, read the list on the Government’s website
or you can find industry-specific guidelines on the MBIE website.

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How can businesses make sure they are following the rules?

Focus as much business as you can online

For instance, hospitality businesses are moving primarily to take-away models. If people have to be in store, then you should ensure they stand two metres apart with clear signage

Brief staff on all instructions

Keep staff updated on the health guidelines, and make sure they enforce two metre distancing rules inside.

Keep clear and proper signage

Let customers know the rules. They must be two metres apart at all times, and encourage them to use any measurements you put up as guidelines.

Make sure staff don’t have physical contact with customers

Restrictions mandate you can’t physically come into contact with customers. That means you need to use cashless modes of currency, and use protective screens where you can.

Clean regularly

This isn’t a part of the restrictions, but keeping staff feeling safe is a crucial part of opening business. So have a hygiene plan and follow it regularly.

Keep staff in the loop

It’s worth noting that many complaints about businesses not following restrictions came from employees themselves. So make sure you follow these rules, keep on top of the restrictions, and stay safe.

If you’re worried about how to maintain business, brush up on some examples of how businesses have pivoted their models to adapt to social restrictions. You can also download our new Business Preparedness Guide for NZ’s small business owners.