Red traffic light against clouds in the sky

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

As of 11:59pm on Monday 12 September, the COVID-19 Protection Framework (AKA the Traffic Light System) ended. With case numbers falling, a highly vaccinated population, and increased access to antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19, public health experts say it is safe to remove most COVID-19 rules and end border restrictions.

This means that for most settings, including work places and film shoots, we can go back to “life as normal”. Mask wearing, physical distancing, testing, etc. is no longer a Government requirement in most situations. Though don’t be surprised if you are still asked to wear a mask. And some people will still chose to wear one.

Safety Protocols for the Screen Industry

As of Monday night the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Protocols are no longer valid. But please note that COVID-19 has by no means been eradicated. And it will still be part of our lives for the foreseeable future.

Depending on the individual needs of a production, the specific requirements of a scene or location, or the personal situation of a crew or cast member, some productions may still need to utilise some of the many safety measures we’ve gotten used to over the last few years, including mask wearing, testing, vaccination status and the use of health declarations and release deeds. It’s up to each production to clearly state their intention. If a production sees the need for putting in place additional COVID-19 safety measures, we recommend that they engage with the crew and the safety team as early as possible.

Personal Responsibility

While regular testing and mask wearing will not be mandatory for most productions, personal responsibly for yourself and your colleagues will become more important.

Most of us are freelance contractors and don’t have the safety net that employees have with sick days, etc. So if we can’t work, we don’t get paid… This goes for both yourself and your colleagues.

If you feel sick, please notify production and/or safety. Please test when unwell or if you are a household contact.

Where is Mask Wearing Still Mandatory?

Masks will still be required in hospitals and other healthcare facilities like medical centres, pharmacies, A&E, etc.

New Rules for Household Contacts

Positive cases must still self-isolate for at least 7 days, but Household Contacts no longer need to isolate. If you live with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, we recommend you:

  • take a rapid antigen test (RAT) each day for 5 days in order to go to work
  • avoid contact with the person who has COVID-19

Travellers Arriving Into New Zealand

Vaccination requirements for travellers arriving in New Zealand will end, including air crew.

People entering New Zealand will be given free RATs and are recommend to test on the day they arrive and on day 5 or 6.

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

I’ve been at three screen events in the last week where people close by are sniffing, coughing and doing it without masks.

Why are they even there?!

At our events and many others, organisers ask for people who have COVID-like symptoms, which include those of colds and flu, to stay home. They absolutely should.

Nearly all of us are contractors. If we get sick and have to take days off, we go unpaid. Those people who turn up to events showing symptoms are selfishly impacting on all of us, even though they may think they are no longer infectious.

We now have a new COVID variant to contend with and cases are on the rise. The Government is about to announce measures to try and alleviate the increase in infection numbers and hospitalisation cases. Things are getting worse again, people.

I had one friend recently who caught the flu. He said it’s the sickest he’s ever been in his life. I said he should have gone to hospital.

It’s obvious though that the general public, and that includes many of us, have become increasingly lackadaisical when it comes to COVID prevention. People aren’t wearing proper masks in public places, and those who wear masks under their chins or just covering their mouths are only doing one thing—contributing to the pile of PPE waste. Thankfully, our COVID protocols on set are being strictly managed on professional productions. If they weren’t, producers would likely run out of crew to replace those they are losing now in significant numbers.

Every individual has the right to make a choice about their own health, but you need to be considerate and follow basic health guidelines that help prevent others from getting sick. Please:

    • Wear a mask in public when indoors
    • Don’t attend events if you have symptoms
    • Isolate if you have COVID, a cold or the flu
    • Wash your hands frequently

I at least thank you in advance for doing this.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

The Ministry of Social Development’s Redeployment Support Service has been designed to help people at risk of job displacement by supporting them to retrain and retain their employment, or transition to new and appropriate employment or upskilling opportunities.

Services are available to all employers, contractors and self-employed people. Wherever you are based in New Zealand, MSD has regional teams across the country.

MSD offer a range of Redeployment Support services, including, but not limited to:

  • One to One and/or Group Consultation for staff facing job loss
  • Linking people to new employment, training and/or upskilling opportunities
  • Advise for employers on financial support available to help retain and/or retrain staff into other areas of their business
  • Connecting employers to business support agencies
  • Providing collaborative events tailored for those at risk of losing their jobs, with a range of employers and organisations taking part

If you are or know of a business that’s struggling, someone going through a redundancy, or worried about their job, our Early Response Team is here to help. To arrange a confidential time to meet and discuss how MSD can support you, please email canterbury_redeployment_service@msd.govt.nz and one of our team will be in contact.

Download more info about the Redeployment Support Service (PDF 244KB)

Friday 1 July 2022

This is a reminder to all of the New Zealand Screen Sector that the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Protocols are still in place to make sure you keep each other safe on set.

We understand that it is tough keeping productions going under the current climate but we want to remind everyone that your health and safety is important. COVID is impacting on our sets around the country so please if you are unwell – please don’t come to work. Even if you are testing negative and you have symptoms we advise you to please stay at home.

Please continue to register your production on the ScreenSafe website registration form.

Here are the links to all of the information you need to follow the protocols:

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Toolkit

ScreenSafe Department Roles

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Production Registration Form

The key updates are:


No Requirement to Use QR Codes or to Contact Trace

Businesses no longer have to display a QR Code poster, although some businesses may still choose to use them. Productions are still encouraged to have contact tracing of some sort in place to prevent a wider production outbreak, but it is no longer a Government requirement.

No Requirement to Use My Vaccine Pass

There is no longer a requirement to use My Vaccine Pass. The Non-Vaccination Passport sections of the Protocols have now been removed and all productions will work under the same regulations.

If productions choose to use vaccination passports, they must undertake a robust 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 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. Productions 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.

Updated Testing & Isolation Requirements

Updated as per current Government guidelines. The self-isolation period is now only 7 days. This applies to Household Contacts, but not Close Contacts. Close Contacts should monitor for symptoms for 10 days.

Long COVID & COVID-19 in the Workplace

Updates on managing an outbreak in the production, including information about Long COVID and its potential impact on a workforce.

Immigration, International and Domestic Travel

New Zealand has reopened its borders to the outside world. These sections of the protocols have been almost completely rewritten, but we urge you to also seek out the latest Government information. Things are constantly changing in regards to immigration and international travel requirements.

Mask Wearing is Still Crucial

With many productions choosing not to use vaccination passports, the use of face masks is more important than ever. Please wear a mask to protect your colleagues, yourself and your family. Wearing a face mask will assist with the productions continuation when there are undetected positive case within a production.

If you do test positive or are a household contact you can receive financial support here.

While some productions will choose not to use QR Codes and Vaccination Passports, please note that our key tools will still remain: mask wearing, physical distancing, hygiene and increased ventilation. And as always – DO NOT come to work if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

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

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