25 March 2020
There is a lot of information being pumped out in the media, online and from almost anyone you talk to. It is a rapidly changing situation and we strongly recommend that clubs keep up to date by reviewing the information provided by the Ministry of Health which is monitoring 2019-nCoV closely and following guidance from the World Health Organisation.
- New Zealand Ministry of Health
- Unite against Covid-19 - www.covid19.govt.nz
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
LATEST UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 21 APRIL 2020
The Government has announced that the level 4 lock down will end at 11.59pm on Monday 27th April, at which time we will move to alert level 3.
Alert level 3 remains restrictive, however, it does provide more options for clubs wanting offer a meal delivery or contactless pick up option for members. It also provides greater opportunities for clubs to prepare for when they can open their doors.
The overarching principals of level 3 for clubs are;
- Clubs must remain closed – any customer facing interactions are not permitted.
- Clubs can start food delivery services and takeaway – but strict health and safety measures will apply for staff and the operation must be contactless.
- Clubs with off licences can offer off licence delivery and contactless pick up – strict health and safety measures apply and you must ensure that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act is upheld.
- Staff can begin working towards reopening the club. This may involve cleaning or training. Strict health and safety measures apply.
We have created a resource (attached) that aims to provide practical advice for clubs as you consider whether you can operate at level 3, level 2 and beyond. This resource will evolve and be updated, it is not exhaustive and there will be matters and questions that it does not cover. Please continue to get in contact with National Office if you have questions or require assistance we are here to help.
Class 4 Gaming – DIA Operational Update
The Department of Internal Affairs recognise that while many clubs are already accessing the government COVID-19 wage subsidy, clubs are also facing immediate pressures relating to general expenses not currently covered through their individual “Authorised Purpose” statements set out in licence conditions.
In line with the approach taken for non-club class 4 operators, the Department has identified an additional operational change that will ease the short-term financial pressures on clubs.
Effective immediately, general expenses necessary “to keep the lights on” and general support of staff during the epidemic will be considered general administration expenses of the club (and thus an authorised purpose). The percentage of funds specified in the license agreement that can be allocated to the authorised purpose remains unchanged.
This will be for an initial period of twelve weeks (from midnight 25 March), with flexibility to extend this period or respond to future COVID-19 Alert Levels as required.
What do clubs need to do?
Clubs will need to itemise these authorised purpose payments separately and specifically within their financial statements, so that it is clear when the renewal assessment is made how the club applied any net proceeds in line with this response.
Please continue to keep in touch, continue to reach out to your members and lets work towards commemorating ANZAC Day this weekend before we move into level 3.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 6 APRIL 2020
Please find attached a memo regarding Business Support options available via banks and Inland Revenue. We recommend each club talk with your accountant to determine the best support options available.
It is also great to see that relief is being extended to societies in the form of;
- allowing the use of electronic signatures where necessary due to COVID-19 restrictions,
- giving the Registrar of Companies the power to temporarily extend deadlines imposed on companies, incorporated societies, charitable trusts and other entities under legislation, and
- giving temporary relief for entities that are unable to comply with requirements in their constitutions or rules because of COVID-19.
EMPLOYMENT AND WAGE SUBSIDY MATTERS
We are fielding a lot of calls regarding the wage subsidy and other employment matters. We are working through these with individual clubs as best we can, however, some of the frequent enquiries include;
Excess Subsidy Payment Usage Clarification
Work and Income has changed its guidelines around Wage Subsidy payments. They are as follows:
- If you are receiving the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy, you must try your hardest to pay the employee named in your application, at least 80% of their usual wages.
- If that isn’t possible, you need to pay at least the subsidy rate (i.e., full-time or part-time).
- If your employee’s usual wages are less than the subsidy, you must pay them their usual wages.
- Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff - the wage subsidy is designed to keep your employees connected to you.
This amendment now clarifies that the excess amount of a wage subsidy where the employee’s ‘usual hours’ are below the subsidy amount, may be used to ‘top up’ those employees where the subsidy does not meet the 80% requirement of their ‘usual hours’. Please note that where the subsidy ALONE provides for 100% of an employee’s ‘usual hours’ they must be paid 100%. The 80% rule only applies to those cases where employers need to ‘top up’ wages beyond the subsidy amount to meet ‘usual hours’.
We have a couple of public holidays lined up during the lock down period. The Holidays Act has not changed so the public holidays will go ahead regardless of the lock-down. The main difference this time around is that there will be no time and a half and no days in lieu because staff are not required to be at work.
Annual leave continues to accumulate during the lock down as usual.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 30 MARCH 2020
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 25 MARCH 2020
Employment Law has not Changed
Employment laws have not changed, they are the same today as they were before the pandemic began. It is incredibly disappointing to learn that some employers are using the pandemic as an excuse to move staff on, I trust that this will not be the case in any clubs.
If redundancies are required you must follow the correct process as outlined in the law. You can not just turn up tomorrow and say to staff you are redundant. Employers need to tread carefully – because of the potential to get it wrong. In the current environment there is an implied duty of care. The Employment Relations Authority would not look favourably on businesses using the pandemic as an excuse to make staff redundant, and we expect any redundancy not done properly to attract higher damages than in normal times.
The Government’s $12 billion package and its talks with banks have been put in place to support businesses. If a business was found to have claimed the Governments subsidy with no intentions of paying staff there would be grounds for the Government to sue for fraudulently obtaining the subsidy.
We are all concerned about what the next month and the months after that will look like, but we must ensure that we act in good faith and look after each other.
A large number of clubs have been seeking clarification on where they fit amongst the essential services list and what support they can potentially provide to members during the level 4 ‘shut down’.
The Government last night clarified their position on essential services.
Food delivery is prohibited, except meals-on-wheels and whole food delivery (e.g. subscription boxes such as My Food Bag).
MBIE deputy chief executive Paul Stocks said “We cannot guarantee every kitchen operates strict food preparation controls or that everyone who works in a kitchen is well. Evidence overseas suggests the virus has been spread via poor food hygiene practices, so it's a real risk we have to eliminate.
For clarity, every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation, including delivery.”
Clubs with Off-Licences will not be able to sell and deliver beverages. Liquor stores are being treated as other non-essential retail outlets and must close.
A dedicated email address has been provided firstname.lastname@example.org for businesses to seek advice. Clubs are encouraged to seek confirmation from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment before advertising any services to members.
Other ways to support members
The message from the Government is clear and that is to stay home.
There are other ways that clubs can support members and look out for the most vulnerable in our communities. For example, the club could facilitate a ‘buddy system’ amongst members. Members who are isolated or live alone could be offered the chance to provide their phone/mobile number and other members put their hand up to keep in regular contact.
It is also possible for people to drop essential supplies, “non cooked” food and medications to those who are unable to travel or the risk of them visiting the supermarket or pharmacy is too great (so long as these items are left at the door and physical distancing is ensured).
We are under no illusions that these are challenging times, however, we have to trust in the process so that we can get the doors to our clubs open as soon as possible.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 24 MARCH 2020
We have a lot of questions coming in regarding essential services and how clubs can continue to support members during the lock down. We are currently seeking clarification and sorting through the myriad of information which is unfortunately contradictory in places.
We are conscious that clubs are looking for answers now, however, our priority is ensuring we get you the correct information. While we work to understand the best ways for clubs to support members and where we fit on the list of essential services there are some things that need immediate attention.
Please find below an update covering club closures, this includes tips and actions relating to;
- Third Party Notifications
- Appliances and Equipment
- Food, Beverages and Perishables
- Looking after yourself.
We have also updated the Wage Subsidy Memo. We have a number of clubs hesitating to apply for the subsidy because you do not currently have forecasted financials to compare to last year. The reality is with your club closed, your revenue for April is going to be down on last years April revenue. Our advice is to apply and to apply early.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 23 MARCH 2020
It is fair to say we are all in shock but not surprised that New Zealand’s alert level has been raised to three and will soon be raised to 4. This is indeed unchartered territory for all of us and we want to reiterate that Clubs New Zealand will support members every way we can. The National Office team will be committed to making sense of all this new information and distributing it to members.
Covid-19 Alert Level Raised
This afternoon the Government has announced that the countries alert level in response to Covid-19 has been raised to level 3, in 48 hours it will raise again to level 4 at which time all businesses except for essential services will need to close.
This means clubs have a 48-hour window in which to prepare to close.
While no definitive time frames have been announced the Prime Minister expects New Zealand to remain at level 4 for at least 4 weeks.
Support for Businesses
Finance Minister Grant Robinson has announced that the $150,000 cap on the wage subsidy scheme has been removed, with further preparations underway to ensure all employees are able to access support.
We are here to provide assistance so please get in touch.
On Friday evening the guidelines for hospitality establishments on physical distancing and gathering size limits were released by the Ministry of Health and are available for download below.
The guidelines confirm much of the recommendations we sent out on Friday.
It is important that clubs follow these guidelines and make appropriate changes. There are fines and potential jail terms that apply for failing to comply with, or for delaying compliance with, the direction given by a medical officer of health.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 20 MARCH 2020
We understand that the Government's announcement regarding the cancellation of events and indoor gatherings in excess of 100 people is causing a lot of concern for members. Clubs New Zealand along with Hospitality New Zealand are seeking urgent clarification as to what this means for clubs and other hospitality venues.
Until we hear otherwise we recommend that;
- Clubs section off areas where possible ensuring that no more than 100 people are within an area at a time.
- Where possible reduce the number of tables and leaners to assist with social distancing.
- Ask all members and guests visiting the club to sign in; this will aid staff in tracking numbers and traceability should a member of guest test positive for Covid-19
- Continue with communications to members around hygiene and social distancing. If any member, guest or staff member is showing signs of illness (particularly fever or cough) they need to be asked to leave the premises.
- Duty managers need to be vigilant and have the authorisation to remove members from the premises or refuse entry in the case of illness or overcrowding.
As soon as we receive confirmation and guidance from the Ministry of Health we will share this with you.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND -19 MARCH 2020
The Government has this afternoon announced further restrictions through the cancellation of indoor events and gatherings with more than 100 people.
Hon Dr David Clarks press release has specifically acknowledged that this will have implications for the hospitality sector. It is expected that guidance will be available in the next 24-36 hours.
We are seeing great communications from clubs to members and applaud the initiatives and actions that are being put into place at such short notice.
As soon as we receive the guidance for the hospitality sector we will share this with you.
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 18 MARCH 2020
There is a whole lot of information being released surrounding the Governments relief package. We have done our best to review all of this information and pull together what is relevant for clubs. Please find below links relating to the Wage and Self Isolation Subsidies as well as Tax Relief that is available;
UPDATE FROM CLUBS NEW ZEALAND - 17 MARCH 2020
Detailed Memo to all Clubs
Please find below a detailed memo sent to all Clubs via email on Tuesday 17th March 2020. The memo covers advice to clubs around
- Mass gatherings
- The Special General Meeting - confirmed date
- Board Matters
- Managing Patrons
- Managing Staff
- Government Stimulus Package
- Cancellation of Commercial Contracts.
Clubs New Zealand Sports Tournaments
Clubs New Zealand has cancelled all Clubs New Zealand Tournaments up until 31 August 2020. You can view the memo regarding this decision below;