COVID-19 Business Update – 4 September 2020

Covid 19 Business Update

Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for this week’s update.

Auckland Lockdown Lifted

While schools and businesses reopened this week in Auckland after the lifting of the recently imposed lockdown, face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country.  This move is intended to contain the resurgence of COVID-19.

Limits on social gatherings in Auckland also remain, while the rest of New Zealand stays in Alert Level 2. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encourages everyone to stick to the guidelines and do their part to win the battle against the coronavirus.

Doing Business at Alert Level 2

Now that New Zealand is back at Alert Level 2, here’s a reminder of the golden rules for doing business according to the Government:

  • RulesReduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work.
  • All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.
  • Talk with your staff to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  • Ask everyone — workers, contractors and customers — with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  • Keep workers 1 metre apart and customers in retail businesses 2 metres apart.
  • Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  • Businesses need to display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system.
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged if you are in close contact with others.
  • Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

NZ Government Allocates Hundreds of Millions of Dollars For COVID-19 Vaccine

Covid, VaccineA statement from the Prime Minister and Minister of Research, Science, and Innovation Megan Woods indicates that funding from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund will be in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

This comes in addition to the $37 million vaccine strategy from May, and would also allow NZ to join initiatives such as the COVAX Facility.

The COVAX Facility is a global collaboration intended to accelerate the development, production, and access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments.

Woods also mentioned that they are already in talks with a number of potential vaccine providers.

Business support schemes you might not have heard of

While you’ve probably heard about the wage subsidy and small business loans programs, there are other grants and schemes available to business owners that you might not have heard of.  This article details 5 business support schemes that have gone under the radar including business debt hibernation and IRD penalty and interest relief. Ask us if you have any questions about what you’re eligible for and how to apply.

Mentoring Scheme Businesses

Rbp NetworkThe Regional Business Partner Network gives business owners access to advice and resources on business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR issues, and sector-specific concerns amid the COVID-19 crisis.  You can find more details in this article from the Treasury. If you’re looking for ways to adapt your business, get in touch with us.

Government Loan Applications Extended

The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme allows you to get financial assistance of up to $100,000 and an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee.  Repayments are not required for the first two years, but if the loan is paid back within a year, there will be no interest.

The government has extended this loan until the end of the year.  For those who haven’t applied for this government loan yet, you can check your eligibility here or you can get in touch with us so we can assist you with your application.

How to Know Which New Product Ideas to Pursue

Product, IdeaLast week, we talked about ways to come up with fresh ideas to bring in more money into your business or identify a profitable niche for a new business.

Now that you have a list of new product ideas, the next logical step is to determine which of these are worth pursuing.  Check out this Forbes article that discusses ways to determine if your customers want your new product and how to make sure you’re investing your time wisely.

If you need guidance in boosting your profitability, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for expert business advice tailored specifically to your business

Taking Time Off From Work During the Pandemic

With the extended periods of lockdown and working from home, days become indistinguishable from one another and the line between work and life starts to blur.  As people tend to work longer days, not to mention the fact that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, managing stress levels has become more important than ever.

So what does taking some time off from work during a pandemic look like?  This Forbes article shared some steps to take a work-free vacation, including:

  • Truly disconnect from work by setting an out of office message on your email and turning off notifications that will tempt you to work.
  • Prepare for your time off by figuring out what must be done ahead of time and which ones can wait until you get back.
  • Sometimes, you can only disconnect from work 90% of the time.  So establish boundaries by setting a specific time frame you’ll allow yourself to address urgent issues and check in on critical projects during your vacation.
  • If you live in an area with strict social restrictions, you’ll need to get creative on how you’ll spend your time off.  Staying at home doesn’t mean boring- spend quality time with your family, try out new activities, or meet with your friends virtually.

Regardless of how you spend your vacation, the important thing is to use this time to rest, relax, and recharge your body and mind.  Do this, and you’ll get back to work feeling refreshed.

Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams

Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations.  Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.

  • scamKnow how scammers may reach you– Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
  • Check trusted sources directly– Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
  • Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing– Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
  • Double-check links and email addresses before clicking– Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
  • Search to see if it’s been reported– Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
  • Add an extra layer of security to your account– Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.

If you encounter phishing pages, you can report it here.  For malicious software, you can report the site here.

Get in touch

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