Friday 1st April 2022

The following changes were announced by the Prime Minister on 23rd March 2022. The Omicron outbreak has now peaked, or is about to peak, in most of the country. This, combined with high vaccination rates and reduced risk of reinfection for those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, means that the government is easing some COVID-19 restrictions over the next few weeks.

ScreenSafe anticipates a wider revision of the COVID-19 Protocols, with the next review of the traffic light settings scheduled for 4th April 2022.  However, for the time being, please note the below changes.

The key changes are:


No Requirement to Use QR Codes

From 11.59pm on Friday 25th March, the requirement to scan a QR Code before entering a business ended. From this time, businesses were freed of their obligation to display a QR Code poster (although businesses may still display a QR Code if they wish to do so). People are encouraged not to remove the COVID-19 tracer app from their phone just yet in case it’s needed in the future.

No Requirement to Use My Vaccine Pass

From 11.59pm on Monday 4th April, there will be no requirement to use My Vaccine Pass.

  • The Vaccination Passport sections of the Protocols will no longer be relevant. If any productions choose to use any sections of it, they must undertake a health and safety risk assessment, along with any other relevant legal assessment, to ensure they are not unlawfully discriminating against workers within the workplace.
  • A Production must undertake a Covid-19 health and safety risk assessment to ascertain if there are any roles within production that require vaccination.  A risk assessment might identify that some work can only be undertaken by a vaccinated employee for work health and safety purposes – for example, where the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 at work is higher than it is in the community,  You should follow WorkSafe’s advice and guidance in respect of how to conduct a health and safety risk assessment, and may also wish to seek independent legal advice.

Worker Vaccine Mandates

From 11.59pm on Monday 4th April, vaccine mandates will be removed from the education sector, police and defence force. For the time being it will still be in place for health & disability workers, aged care workers, corrections workers and border/MIQ workers.

Note: After a robust health and safety risk assessment and worker consultation, businesses may be able to voluntarily introduce workforce vaccination requirements but it must be appropriate to the workforce. As above, for guidance on how to conduct a health and safety risk assessment, WorkSafe’s website is a good place to start.

Mask Wearing is Still Crucial

Although use of QR Codes and Vaccination Passports are being phased out, it is worth noting that proper use of face masks is one of our best tools for fighting this virus.

Overview of current Traffic Light Settings


Review of Traffic Light Settings

All of New Zealand is currently in the RED setting. The next review of the traffic light settings is on 4th April. It will review what ‘colour’ (or setting) each area of New Zealand sits in.

Changes to RED Traffic Light Settings

From 11.59pm on Friday 25th March the following changes came into effect:

  • No limit for outdoor gatherings (in terms of the amount of people that can attend).
  • 200-person limit for indoor gatherings and events (with such capacity limits excluding workers).
  • No requirement to wear face masks outdoors (although productions should make their own decision based on a health and safety risk assessment).
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged — face masks are still required in most indoor settings.
  • No requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or maintain some other form of attendance record-keeping.

Changes to ORANGE Traffic Light Settings

From 11.59pm on Friday 25th March the following changes came into effect (noting that all of New Zealand is currently at the Red setting, so these changes are simply indicative of what can be expected if and when there is a shift in settings):

  • No limit for outdoor or indoor gatherings (in terms of the amount of people that can attend).
  • No requirement to wear a face mask outdoors (although productions should make their own decision based on a risk assessment).
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged.
  • No requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or maintain some other form of attendance record-keeping.

Changes to GREEN Traffic Light Settings

No changes of note.

We anticipate many productions will choose not to use QR Codes and Vaccination Passports, but note that our key tools will still remain: good mask wearing, physical distancing, good hygiene and good ventilation. And as always – DO NOT come to work if you are unwell!

Thank you to NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air for funding the ScreenSafe COVID reviews.

Sincerely,
The ScreenSafe COVID-19 Group
Email: info@screensafe.co.nz

Piggy bank wearing a surgical mask

The Government is providing two schemes – one provided by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the other by Inland Revenue – that can provide financial support for self-employed people and businesses who have been directly affected by a move to ‘Red’ under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

  • Inland Revenue’s COVID-19 Support Payment is available for self-employed people and other businesses who have experienced at least a 40% drop in revenue. There will be three rounds of payments available.
  • The Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Grant for Self-Employed Individuals will make a one-off grant of $5,000 available to self-employed people working in arts, culture or heritage, whose income has been directly affected by a move to ‘Red’ under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Self-employed people in the arts, culture and heritage sector will only be able to receive the Grant or the first COVID-19 Support Payment. We strongly recommend that self-employed people check their eligibility for both schemes, before commencing an application for the Grant for Self-Employed Individuals.

A reminder that organisations, including Sole Traders with employees, are not eligible for the Manatū Taonga Grant. They should, instead, take a good look at the criteria for Inland Revenue’s Covid Support Payment, or, if they are in real trouble, the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund – Organisations. This is our fund of last resort and is used to support cultural organisations which are at clear risk of no longer operating viably. Organisations can receive up to $300,000 through this fund.

Online Information Sessions

These information sessions are open to anyone interested in applying for the Ministry’s Grant for Self-Employed Individuals, but also touch on the other support schemes administered by Manatū Taonga. The small-group sessions discuss and answer your questions around the application process, eligibility, the evidence you’ll need to provide, and introduce our online application system.

  • Tuesday March 8, 12pm
  • Wednesday March 9, 6:30pm
  • Thursday March 10, 12pm

RSVP here for your preferred session.

Or watch a recorded information session on Facebook Live.

Further Information

For the latest information on other initiatives in the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme, see the Manatū Taonga website.

If you have specific questions, email Manatū Taonga at support.culture@mch.govt.nz.

1 March 2022

Last week New Zealand entered Phase 3 of the Omicron outbreak. We now have thousands of new daily cases and this is expected to increase over the next month or so.

The intention of Phase 3 is to ease the pressure on Government testing and contact tracing. The focus will be on protecting the vulnerable while ensuring the health system and key supply chains remain operational and that our economy keeps moving.

The most common symptoms for the Omicron variant are a sore or scratchy throat, and a runny nose. If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, you should continue to get tested and stay at home until you have received a negative test result.

With changes happening daily ScreenSafe will cover off the major changes as they come to hand but recommends all productions to keep informed. For regular updates please check: https://covid19.govt.nz/

The key changes are:

 

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will become the primary form of testing

You will no longer require a PCR test to confirm your COVID-19 RAT diagnosis. RATs will now be available from GPs, participating pharmacies and community collection sites (https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/), and they are now freely available to buy online.

Only confirmed cases and their household contacts are required to isolate

People who test positive for COVID-19 and those in their households need to isolate for 10 days, but can now self-release after day 10, provided any testing and symptoms requirements are met. Household contacts must test on days 3 and 10.

If you are told you are a close contact, you do not need to isolate, but should monitor for any symptoms. Please get a test if symptoms develop.

The relaxation of close contact rules are a huge and important change for our industry as it means you do not need to shut down a whole production if any cast or crew test positive.

Please note – continued adherence to ScreenSafe Red Level guidelines is highly recommended for the safety of cast and crew and to avoid unnecessary business disruption:

  • Mask wearing and good hygiene protocols is crucial
  • Practice strict adherence to working bubbles
  • Practice good physical distancing
  • Work from home if possible
  • Avoid ride-sharing

A new self-investigation tool will be launched, with contact tracing teams to focus on high-risk exposure events and locations

Positive cases will need to do their own work in regards to contact tracing. A self-investigation tool is in the works, but is not live as of today.

Vaccinated Kiwis arriving from Australia and the rest of the world will no longer need to self-isolate

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 2 March 2022, fully vaccinated New Zealanders arriving from Australia will no longer need to self-isolate.

From 11.59pm on Friday 4 March this will be extended to include fully vaccinated New Zealand travellers from the rest of the world.

* More details information will be released in the next few days.

Sincerely,
The ScreenSafe COVID-19 Group, Email: info@screensafe.co.nz

Thank you to NZFC and NZOA for their funding support of these COVID-19 reviews.

Friday 4th February 2022

ScreenSafe has updated the COVID-19 Protocols to align with some minor Government updates and with updated information in regards to the Omicron variant.

As we’ve all heard, the Omicron variant is highly infectious and it is now in our community, both on the North and South Island. Even with New Zealand’s very high vaccination rates, it is likely that infection rates can reach the thousands per day over the next few weeks/months.

The Government recommends a booster shot as an additional layer of protection against the Omicron variant.

The changes to the Protocols are as follows:

Omicron Update (in the “About COVID-19” Section)

General Ministry of Health information about the Omicron variant.

Update on Mask/Face Covering Requirements (in the “About COVID-19” Section)

A face covering will need to be an actual mask and attached to the head by loops around the ears or head. This means scarves, bandannas, or t-shirts should not be used.

Stricter mask requirements are now in place for essential services. While that does not apply to our industry, we urge you to consider MoH information about what masks will provide you and your workplace with the best protection: Link here.

Managing an Omicron Outbreak (New section)

This new section provides information about the 3 phases of the impending Omicron outbreak, including applicable isolation timeframes for cases and close contacts. It also provides some basic steps for dealing with an outbreak in your workplace.

Vaccination Update (in the “Vaccinations & Vaccination Passports” Section)

Booster update – you can now get this only 3 months after your second dose (previously it was 6, then 4 months).

Update about the Child Vaccine (for kids 5-11) which is now available.

Rapid Antigen Testing Update (in the “Testing” Section)

Updated with the latest information about RAT testing.

Note that this continues to be an evolving topic as supplies of RAT are currently limited. Although we are hopeful this will become a vital tool for all productions.

Surveillance Testing (in the “Testing” Section)

As previously confirmed by MoH – Community Testing Centres CANNOT be used for production surveillance testing. These sites are only for symptomatic people and close contacts. Productions must bear the cost of surveillance testing themselves and should not ask cast or crew to go to Community Testing Centres. Link here.

ADR/Booth Work Update (in the “Traffic Light Guides”)

We have added in a quick note about the need for proper guidelines in regards to sanitation, ventilation and physical distancing for any ADR or other booth work in post-production.

The 5-Step Border Reopening 27th February (in the “Immigration and International Travel Restrictions” Section)

Updated in regards to today’s announcements about the 5-stage re-opening of our international borders.

Links to updated information:

ScreenSafe COVID-19 H&S Protocols – Omicron Update

Vaccination Passport Traffic Light Guidelines and Non-Vaccination Passport Guidelines

ScreenSafe would like to thank the NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air for funding this initiative.

Full release here.

Sincerely,
The ScreenSafe COVID-19 Group
Email: info@screensafe.co.nz

14 December 2021

The Traffic Light system is designed for living with COVID-19 in the community. This is of course a huge mind-shift for everyone, but it is built on the foundation of one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Overall, the intent of the new system appears to be:

  • Encourage everyone to get vaccinated so that we can safely reopen the country
  • Reduce stress on the health system and protect the vulnerable
  • Ensure certainty and business continuity by incentivising businesses that use the vaccination passport system

The Traffic Light System will offer businesses much more flexibility and more certainty in regards to business continuity. COVID-19 restrictions within each level of the Traffic Light system are designed to encourage businesses to use vaccination passports, where only vaccinated staff, contractors and customers are allowed into a business or work site.

For productions using vaccination passports there are no restrictions on numbers on a work site. And Close Proximity work (make up, stunts, actor interaction, etc.) can happen at all levels, although with increasing risk minimisation tools (PPE, hygiene measures, testing, etc.) in place when moving to the higher levels.

Productions choosing NOT to enforce a vaccination passport system may have restricted access to some council and private locations, and some locations may not be available to those productions. Close Proximity work is only allowed in the green level.

We STRONGLY urge you to familiarise yourself with the new protocols. And in the next week we hope to also publish department specific guidelines for the new system.

Thank you to the NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission for funding the review of these protocols.

Full release here of the key updates.

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols Review – Traffic Light System Documents:

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols for the Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Standard

These documents need to be read and utilised together. These documents are intended to give Production Companies and HOD’s guidance and forms to manage Covid 19 on a working production.

Vaccination Passport Productions Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

Non-Vaccination Passport Productions Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

Surveillance Testing information sheet here updated 14th December 2021

Each production is required to register with ScreenSafe – please read about these requirements carefully in the Protocols.

ScreenSafe Production Registration link

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Department Roles (these will be updated in the coming week – 14th December 2021)

A very big thank you to the ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Group for all of your hard work putting these documents together.

Ngā mihi,

Kelly Lucas
Executive Director
Screen Industry Guild Aotearoa New Zealand Inc.
(Previously the NZ Film & Video Technicians’ Guild Inc.)