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Good Morning Mackenzie businesses

Ministry of Health Updated information 12.40 pm 3rd February 2020
Covering current status, Change to case definition, Travel advisory update, Advice about self-isolation, updated Fact Sheet for travelers
As we are bombarded with information in the media and other sources, the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce suggests you could use this communication and links to stay up to date as the Coronavirus situation changes.
Please also consider the following:

Impact on business
There is a strong possibility that this new strain of coronavirus could impact on business and business practices in New Zealand, with the potential for it to become a greater issue as the situation evolves. This has already impacted local tourism and a range of export markets.

Prevention in the workplace
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, employers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of employees while at work. In the context of this virus (and any others like it), this means taking measures to prevent both employees who are travelling to, or coming back from, affected areas from contracting the disease or allowing others in the workplace to contract it from an infected person. 

WHO (World Health Organisation) advise people to follow basic principles to reduce risk of the virus spreading. These are:
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • Avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette: Maintain distance; Cover Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing; Wash hands
What if an employee refuses to come to work?
If an employee believes on reasonable grounds that, by going to work, they will be exposed to a serious risk to their health or safety , then the employee may refuse to perform work under the provisions of s 83 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Alternative work arrangements may be explored or advice from a third party such as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment may need to be sought to resolve the problem. 

Can we prevent an employee from coming to work?
An employer may be able to reasonably require an employee returning from an affected area or who may have had contact with an infected person to quarantine themselves for an advised period. Likewise, an employee may voluntarily quarantine themselves with the employer’s consent. Chamber of Commerce Members should seek advice from The Chamber’s Employment Relations Advisors around their specific situation.

Latest information:

Raewyn Bell

Business Advisor
25 Canon St I PO Box 919 I Timaru I New Zealand
ddi: +64 3 555 5092 | p: +64 3 687 2733 | m: +64 27 500 4222
email: | web:
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