Hon Tracey Martin, Minister for Seniors
Guidance around what Alert Level 3 means for people over 70 and other higher-risk groups is now available on the COVID-19 website, Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin said today.
“It’s really important that we let seniors, employers and the general public know what’s expected and what they are allowed to do from Tuesday,” says Minister Martin.
“The basic rules are the same. We want everyone, wherever possible, to stay in their ‘bubble’ and work from home to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
“Over-70s and other higher-risk groups have the same rights as everyone else to go to work, to exercise and to access essential services like supermarkets and banks. It’s just that we’re asking them to be especially careful,” Mrs Martin says.
“Like everyone else, travel should be kept to a minimum, so use online services or have others shop for you where possible, and if you are out keep two metres distance from other people.”
Under Alert Level 3, seniors can:
- extend their ‘bubble’ carefully, for example by letting close family or a caregiver into their home
- go to a local beach or park for fresh air and exercise
- shop for essential services such as at the chemist or supermarket
- take children to school if they are caregivers, and
- volunteer or go to work if they cannot do this from home and it is safe.
“No workplaces should be operating unless they are safely managing COVID risks, so there is no reason to exclude workers on the basis of age or disability,” Minister Martin says.
“The other side of that is that some people do have specific health conditions that mean that they need to manage themselves differently, and they need to talk to their employers and agree on these work and leave arrangements. To support this, the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme that covers workers who are unable to work from home and need to self-isolate has been expanded to all businesses, organisations, and self-employed people, not just essential services.”
The Minister said getting the Level 3 guidance out was important as various groups and individuals had been asking for clarification about what the changes meant for them.
“People want to do the right thing,” Minister Martin says. “Seniors have been incredibly good at doing their bit and following the rules and a whole range of groups and individuals have been great at providing support to them. We just need to make sure this continues.”