Covid-19 and Essential Workers
First of all, if you can stay home, stay home. When New Zealand is at Alert Level 4, we must all stay home unless we are shopping for food or medicine or we work in an essential service. If we can perform an essential service from home, then we must work from home.
However, there are still quite a few people working outside the home because they are doing jobs that are essential services. Some essential workers like health care workers and supermarket workers are obvious. There are others though, and the government has defined all the essential services that can keep working. The whole list can be found here, but the categories most relevant to Hirestaff employees are:
- Transport and Logistics
- Fast-moving Consumer Goods
- Building and Construction
- Primary Industries
Transport and Logistics
The Ministry of Transport requires that travel or work is either essential to supporting life (such as moving food, medicine, etc) or is crucial to keeping those services running (such as mechanics or tyre services needed for the vehicles supporting life). The Ministry says it is important to consider if those roles can be done from home or on a on-demand or as-required only basis. So a mechanic can work on a delivery vehicle needed to deliver food.
Jobs considered essential in this category would include drivers delivering solid fuel (such as firewood), taxi drivers delivering people to work, courier drivers. Check Ministry of Transport guidelines here.
Fast-moving Consumer Goods
This category includes any business involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the well-being of people. This includes people who work in supermarkets or delivering food (such as truck drivers delivering food to supermarkets, but not takeaway drivers).
Building and construction
Any business involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure can continue to work. So, an emergency plumbing job at a hospital is considered essential, but not plumbing work on new homes. Also, those services in the supply and support chain who support such jobs can continue to work. This is why Bunnings and Mitre 10 are open for tradies working on essential jobs but not the general public. Any business which is required to solve an immediate health or life safety risks, environmental harm, and relevant essential supply chain elements can work. So, an electrician, plumber, or carpenter could do a job to fix something that essential for life or safety but not do another job which is non-essential. Click here for information about what tradespeople can do under level 4 lockdown.
Primary Industries, including food and beverage production and processing.
This includes any business which is involved in the packaging, production and processing of food or drink products, or corresponding support services such as food safety and verification, etc. So, a factory worker who was packaging food could continue to work but a factory worker making toys could not.
Health and safety has never been more important to our employees, because it affects not only you but the people you live and work with and wider society.
If you are working outside the home in an essential service follow these rules:
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
- put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
- wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- clean surfaces regularly such as touch screens, petrol pumps, EFTPOS machines, conveyer belts and self-checkouts.
Look at the Ministry of Health website for more information about protection for essential workers.
You may be used to having dirty hands in your job and not be worried by grease or dirt. However, covid-19 is a virus which is effectively destroyed by plenty of soap and water, so wash your hands often, and always before eating or touching your face or after touching something someone else may have touched, including handrails, tools, or door-handles.
Stay safe everyone. If you are not an essential worker then stay home.
Be Kind, Stay Home, Save Lives.
We look forward to seeing you after lockdown.