covid 19 update

COVID-19 Business Update – 10 March 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Auckland Back to Alert Level 2, Rest of NZ to Alert Level 1

Early this week, Auckland returned to Alert Level 2 status that involves eased restrictions, allowing diners and shoppers back into stores and meeting with those they don’t live with. Meanwhile, the rest of the nation can enjoy the freedom of normal life, as they exited Alert Level 2 and moved to Alert Level 1.

Pfizer: NZ’s Primary Vaccine Provider

The government will buy an additional 8.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, bringing the total order to 10 million doses– enough to vaccinate the entire population.

The decision to make Pfizer the primary vaccine provider of NZ was made after it was shown to be 95% effective. The government started to roll out the vaccine last month and expects to vaccinate all Kiwis by the end of the year.

NZ Opens First Big Vaccination Clinic

NZ has opened its first large vaccination clinic in South Auckland, where initially about 150 people per day will get vaccinated, and then rapidly increased. Over the next few weeks, two more clinics will be opened in Auckland.

NZ Manufacturing Sales Rise in Q4 2020

Manufacturing sales volumes rose by $142 million to $26.8 billion in the December 2020 quarter, according to official data from Statistics New Zealand. This represents a 0.5% increase from the September 2020 quarter.

Volumes for dairy and meat products, the biggest export earners, were relatively steady at 0.1% below the September 2020 volume after adjusting for price effects.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Payments Started This Week

Applications for the wage subsidy opened last week and payments started to flow on Monday.

This scheme allows employers to continue paying staff and protect jobs that may have been affected with the recent alert level changes.

You can apply to cover the wages of your employees over a 2-week period, and claim $585.80 per week for each full time employee or $350 per part-time employee.

The eligibility criteria can be found here, while the steps on how to apply are laid out here.

Resurgence Support Payment

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is for businesses or organisations with reduced revenue due to a COVID alert level increase to level 2 or higher. Learn more about eligibility and which businesses can apply for this support here.

The last day to apply is 22 March for the alert level increase on 14 February. Applications will open at 8am on 8 March for the alert level increase of 28 February.

Short-term Absence Payment

This is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who can’t work from home and meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19 or are a ‘close contact’ who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2-week lump sum per eligible employee.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme here.

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme Open Until June

Business Finance Guarantee loans can help small and medium businesses access credit for cashflow, capital assets and projects related to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

All New Zealand registered banks and non-bank deposit takers (non-banks) are eligible to apply to join the scheme.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to access credit from either a participating bank or a non-bank, but not both.

If you borrow from a bank, it will determine the amount you can borrow and the length of the term up to a maximum of $5 million payable in five years. Meanwhile, if you borrow from a non-bank, the maximum amount is $3 million payable in five years. More information on eligibility criteria and how it works can be found here.

Applications for Business Finance Guarantee loans are open until 30 June 2021. If you need assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Xero Launches Xero Verify

Xero has launched its own authentication app, Xero Verify, to give small businesses world-class data protection. The new app makes it easy for users to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) on their Xero accounts.

It eliminates the need for codes and sends push notifications to your device for a fast and easy way to authenticate your login.

How it works

When you log in, Xero Verify will send a pop-up message to your phone. All you have to do is to open the notification and tap once to authenticate.

If you lose your device where the authenticator app is installed, you just need to turn off MFA, change your password, and then set up MFA on your new device.

How to Set Up MFA With Xero Verify

Follow these steps to set up MFA with Xero Verify on your device.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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