WPBN COVID-19 Member Update
17 March 2020

Warm Pacific greetings,

Waikato Pacific Business Network (WPBN) wish to address any concerns our members may be feeling about COVID-19 and public events. We are encouraging businesses and communities to make fact-based decisions and stay informed on COVID-19.

All upcoming WPBN events: Pacific Lawn Bowls and our Business Workshops have been postponed until further notice.

Following the NZ Government’s announcement on Saturday of wide-reaching travel restrictions, we want to make sure that you remain updated on issues that are likely to affect your business.  While we can provide you with this general guidance, it is important to remember that every business and workplace will have its own specific set of issues, and we strongly recommend that you take advice for your particular circumstances.

As you will know, the travel restrictions mean that from 23:59 on Sunday 15 February 2020, any person entering New Zealand from any country, excluding the Pacific Islands, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival.  This restriction will be reviewed on Monday 30 March 2020.  All New Zealanders have been encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel and to avoid hugs, handshakes and hongi.

There are a few things as business owners we can control and measures we can take:

  1. Communicate clearly and effectively with your employees. Your staff will be exposed to conflicting information and may be anxious or confused. Make sure to communicate any new policies quickly and in a balanced fashion. One simple step is to provide an information hub where employees can find all the information they need.
  2. Make sure travel policies are clear, and employees know what authorizations are needed and when the policy will be reviewed. This is a good time for businesses to consider which functions can be done remotely, including from an employee’s home. It is often in moments like these that business owners rethink processes, finding creative ideas that improve the business long after a crisis is over.
  3. Tell sick employees to stay home. Businesses that do not offer paid sick leave may wish to make an exception in this case.
  4. Check your insurance policies. Re-read key business contracts to understand cancellation clauses. Interruptions from COVID-19 may allow suppliers to cancel contracts without penalties. Your business interruption insurance may also not apply.

While it is important for businesses to do proper contingency planning, it is even more important that we remain calm and support each other. in particular not forget about our Pacific Island Nations who will also be feeling the effects of COVID-19.

As uncertainty can be the worst enemy for businesses and our economy, WPBN support the NZ government who have taken responsibility to provide reassurance to the SME communities responding to the needs of small businesses in light of an economic downturn caused by COVID-19. We will keep you updated.

Please take care not only in your business but also with your families.

Malo’aupito, warm regards,

Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau

Chair
Waikato Pacific Business Network

Useful Links & Resources // COVID-19

The links below are trusted NZ government information relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), how it may affect your business, good personal and professional practice, who to contact should you require further information and how you can stay up to date as new information becomes available.

Information for Businesses:
https://www.business.govt.nz/news/coronavirus-information-for-businesses/

Ministry of Health COVID-19 updates and information:
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Pacific Coorperation Foundation updates:
https://pcf.org.nz/news/2020-03-16/pacific-region-takes-a-stand-against-covid-19

World Health Organisation updates:
https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/covid-19

Safe travel information:
https://safetravel.govt.nz/covid-19-coronavirus#overlay-context=covid-19-coronavirus

Should you require further guidance, please email [email protected]or contact your industry help line.

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