Advice for orchards and horticultural industries in alert level 3
Advice for working in Level 3 and protecting workers on orchards and in pack houses.
All businesses involved in horticulture can operate during Alert Level 3, provided they can do so safely. This includes businesses providing support services to the primary sector, and production of agricultural inputs and non-essential goods.
Businesses wanting to operate in Alert Level 3 need to operate safely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that cannot meet safe practice during Alert Level 3 must remain closed.
More information about permitted activities and travel across Alert Level boundaries can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE)'s website.
Under Alert Level 3 all businesses permitted to operate should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that sets out how they operate safely. More guidance on these safety assurances can be found on the primary sector business page.
At Alert Level 3, businesses must keep records to help with contact tracing, if it is needed. You must have a record of everyone working at, or visiting, each location – employees, customers and clients, tradespeople, contractors, and couriers.
If you are a business that requires travel across the alert level boundary for work, information about permitted travel, the Business Travel Register, and exemptions is available on MBIE’s website.
The Business Travel Register will generate Business Travel Documents for workers to display at checkpoints. This includes a QR code, which enables Police at the cordon to verify the document digitally against the travel register.
It’s important to note that you cannot use the same travel documentation used during previous alert level events and must apply again.
Businesses and workers need to continue to comply with the Government’s COVID-19 Alert Level settings and observe any protocols for their particular industry.
Flower growing and distribution can be undertaken during Alert Level 3, including bulb and seed growing, harvesting, processing and sales and exports.
Floriculture workers may not cross an Alert Level boundary, as this is not food or beverage making or processing. They would need an exemption.
Information about permitted travel, and what is required, can be found on the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) website and will be updated regularly.
Sales direct to consumers
Produce and goods can be sold only if it is by contactless delivery or pick up from the farm gate, cellar door or plant nursery.
During Alert Level 3, consumers cannot browse products in-store (except for supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations, greengrocers, fish mongers, and butchers). This means that retail outlets, cellar doors, showrooms, and plant nurseries must be closed, and farmers’ markets cannot be held.
No on-site dining is allowed during Alert Level 3.
Recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme
Once Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers have completed their 14 day stay in government managed isolation facilities and are cleared to work here, they may need to move to where labour is needed to support continued food production.
Any movement of RSE workers will be carefully managed by their employer. Their employer is fully responsible for the arrangement and safety of their workers while in transit.
If an orchard or pack house worker is sick with COVID-19
If an employee, customer, or visitor becomes a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case, and has been at your workplace while potentially infectious, there are standard processes that will be followed.
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are known as cases and will be directly managed by a local public health unit.
Remember, at any time, an employee who feels unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 should be encouraged to go home and to seek help by calling their GP (doctor) or call Healthline for free, on 0800 358 5453.
Self-isolation for close contacts
Anyone who has been identified as a close contact of a suspect or confirmed case will be required to self-isolate, report to their manager, and to not come to work for 14 days.
This includes staff who have returned to reside in a region at a lower Alert Level.
Exporting fruit from a packhouse that has had a confirmed case of COVID-19
Coronaviruses cannot grow in food – they need a host (animal or human) to grow in and there is no evidence of COVID-19 spreading via food. The virus is commonly transmitted through direct mucous membrane contact by infectious droplets and aerosols, e.g. through breathing in aerosol after an infected person has coughed or sneezed.
MPI has published a reminder to cold chain food production businesses, packhouses, and cold stores about measures applied in China on food imports from all countries as a result of COVID-19.
Further guidance for exporters to China [PDF, 150 KB]
Visit the COVID-19 website for up to date government information and guidance, including for businesses and organisations.
Help available for horticulture industries
The Government has launched a wage subsidy and leave payment scheme to help employers.
Wage subsidy and leave payment - Covid19
You can also talk to your industry group, such as Horticulture New Zealand, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers and New Zealand Apples and Pears.