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At NZKGI, we aim to keep our grower community up-to-date with relevant industry news and key event information. See below for all of our latest industry news announcements and the details you need to know for our upcoming events.

Grower Guidance / November 30, 2021

COVID-19 FAQ’s

What should an employer do if a worker or visitor to their orchard tests positive with COVID-19?

Advise positive case to self-isolate and contact Ministry of Health for further assistance, helpline 0800 358 5453, or visit the website here.

Identify close contacts on the orchard who will need to monitor their symptoms, and if they become unwell, self-isolate and get a test. If there are any household contacts of the positive case (eg RSE workers) they will also need to self-isolate immediately, though may be allowed to return under the Close Contact Exemption scheme, more here. Information on who is a close contact and other guidelines can be found here.

There is a payment scheme in place to cover workers who are isolating due to being a household contact or are a positive case, information on how to apply is found here.

If there are any places that are frequented by the case, close and sanitise the area (eg break rooms, toilets).

HortNZ has a checklist for growers to plan for COVID-19 cases on their orchard, found here.

It is also advised that all RAT test results are recorded in “My Covid record”, as this activates clinical and welfare support for this person as well as assists Public Health with future planning and intel.

 

What should RSE employers do if a case is identified amongst their RSE workers?

If a positive case is identified amongst RSE workers, the positive case and all those that live with the case (household contacts) must self-isolate for 7 days. Household contacts that are asymptomatic and double vaccinated can return to work provided they return a negative RAT test each day before their shift using the Close Contact Exemption scheme, more here. If the household contacts return no positive tests and are asymptomatic, they can return to work along with the positive case after 7 days.

If a household contact develops symptoms or returns a positive test, they must isolate for an additional 7 days from their positive test result of symptoms start. They cannot use the Close Contact Exemption scheme to return to work as they are now a positive case. Note: this additional isolation period is only for this one case and does not apply to other household contacts already isolating.

It is also advised that all RAT test results are recorded in “My Covid record”, as this activates clinical and welfare support for this person as well as assists Public Health with future planning and intel.

 

How do employers cover wages of employees who have to take time off because of a covid test/positive case?

Discuss with the employee what they are wanting. If they have available sick leave, they may want to use that, though this is up to the employee.

There is a payment scheme in place to cover workers isolating due to being a household contact or are a positive case, this is open to all legal New Zealand workers. Information on how to apply is found here.

 

Should an employer mandate vaccinations in their business?

A risk assessment tool for businesses will be released Mid-December to help businesses determine whether they need to mandate vaccinations. More information about this tool can be found here.

NZKGI has also published information on work that requires a vaccinated employee, which can be found here.

 

Is an employer able to inquire about the vaccination status of their employee?

An employer can ask, but the employee does not have to tell, unless they are part of a mandated workforce (eg border workers). To see whether the work being done requires a vaccinated employee, click here.

 

Do workers need to wear masks while on the orchard?

  • Masks must be worn at all times during harvest activities, and gloves while handling fruit.
  • Under Red and Orange:
    • Masks must be worn where a 1 metre distance cannot be maintained
    • Masks must be worn on public transport
    • Mask wearing is strongly encouraged at all other times
  • Recommending separation of workers on orchard (bubbles)
    • The use of bubbles reduces transmission and close contacts within the orchard
    • We also recommend that bubbles are adhered to on transportation too

 

Can an orchard operate at all levels?

Kiwifruit orchards can operate under the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at all levels if controls are in place to protect our workers and the communities in which they operate.  These controls include tracing, physical distancing and gathering restrictions, health checks, and hygiene measures that ensure the health and safety of our people. For further information on the protocols to follow, click here.