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Pandemic Response Omicron

Critical worker exemptions

Critical Workers Exemption  This website is regualry changing.  it has links to lots of other places and so be prepared to take some time to find what you need .  We recommend doing so BEFORE you have a covid positive case or close contact in your team/on farm/at home.  
There is no need to apply for this exception if you meet the "bubble of one" criteria, currently.
To register your exemption - and potentially get rapid antigen tests to use to help keep your business going you need a "real me" login.

Why register as critical service ?

Workers who are asymptomatic close contacts may be able to return to work early - provided they return a negative RAT every day that they are at work throughout their required isolation period.  The Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are less sensitive at detecting cases than other testing so workers may bring covid to the workplace which may increase absenteeism in the future.

You still need to take steps to minimise transmission - distancing, restricting vehicles etc.

more information on RAT can be found on ministry web site : [here]

Summary Documents

These documents are all open sourced.  We have gathered them together to make it easier for people to get to it.

Documents - each link will open in new page:
one page on critical worker scheme (1p)
single graphic on defining close contact (
1p) from MPI framework
checklist for farmers (4pp) primary industry resource
MPI covid framework (34pp)

Some prompts to consider (MARCH 2020)

We are not experts in pandemic responses.  We do know a little about business continuity plans and have been asked to give ideas about what could happen on farm when your region/all NZ are placed in LEVEL 4 response.  

This is not an exhaustive list – it is meant to help prompt you. 

Most people are aware of why we need to isolate ourselves and we defer to COVID19 web site if you want a refresher.  The symptoms and incubation period of this are covered on that site.

Remember that we are trying to restrict the death toll from this and ensure that the health system has capacity should we need it.  Farming is an essential service.

Everyone who you will interact with in the next 4 weeks will be becoming stressed be gentle and be mindful that we are locked down for 4 weeks so we can return to normal soon rather than later.

These are some things to consider on farm.  LEVEL 4 Pandemic Response

These will be added to the Orange Cross risk register templates by close of business 24MAR2020

You will be able to add them to your risk register and then delete what is not applicable and/or edit as you see fit.

You are not alone.                                                                   click here to get PDF

Absolutely no visitors

  • No calling in of friends or neighbours - in person
  • If requiring urgent medical treatment call 111
  • Who ever is in the house / on the farm at midnight on Wednesday night is to remain until level 4 is removed (at least 22nd April 2020)  they will be your isolation “group”
  • Use cell phones, emails, chat rooms to communicate
  • Supermarkets and pharmacies will be open – keep 2m from others while shopping
  • consider having one person from farm pickup everyone’s needs weekly or fortnightly
  • For “groups” within a farm (ie farm houses) you need to be isolated from other farm “groups” or households.
  • Only those employed on farm are to be on farm – none of the people in your “group” can come with you.
  • A register of who is in each “group” on farm should be kept to help with contacts and isolation procedures should traceability be needed

click here to get PDF


  • If possible, allocate single person per vehicle
  • If it means only one person feeding out, fetching calves, then it may be easier than relying on cleaning which is only as good as the least competent.
  • If you HAVE to have others use the machinery wipe down
    • Door handles
    • Seat (touching seat when getting in/out is common)
    • Levers and dials
    • Steering wheel
  • Having dry surfaces is important (and alcohol wipes help with this)

click here to get PDF

Milking Shed

  • Keep 2m away from each other.
  • Try to stop touching your face while milking
  • Wear gloves – put outside the building so no one is touching the door handles and light switches without gloves.
  • Allocate cups to remove (no helping with that slow one mid-row) mark with electrical tape the “zones” on the droppers
  • Only have one person open each gate (eg backing gate switch etc)
  • Wash down well with soap and water –
  • consider using a viral spray (used in calf sheds) at end of each milking
  • Wipe down light switches and door handles every day

click here to get PDF


  • Call and text for general communication
    • Ensure that staff have access to phones that can take calls / text
  • If you are using online platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger ensure everyone knows how to use it.
  • Meeting once a week in barn or other area where 2m distance can be assured could be considered for larger teams
  • If you talk to each other ensure that you are 2m apart
  • ONLINE systems like Facetime only work on apple/iphones.  Use something that can be on everyone’s phone – even relief workers.
    • WhatsApp and Messenger rely on internet but can be set up with just an email address.  They rely on wifi or data
    • ZOOM is getting lots of press – it uses high definition sharing so lots of data and can get laggy for those of us with average internet
  • Make sure your team has data plans that will cover extra communications this way
  • There will be some staff who are alone in isolation (a “group” of one) make sure they have the ability to communicate with their friends and family (phone, skype, whatsapp etc)

click here to get PDF

Keep washing hands with soap and water

  • washing with soap and water will break the viral wall
  • drying hands will ensure that you are less likely to pickup the virus when touching something
  • Drying surfaces ensures that the virus is less likely to move onto it should it be touched.
  • Alcohol wipes are not a silver bullet – they can remove some dirt and debris and ensure that the surface it dry
  • Sing happy birthday twice to get to 20s
    • We prefer the All Black haka (Ka mate) sung loudly once to rouse spirits

click here to get PDF


  • Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.
  • Consider online shopping for groceries
    •  check dates available some have up to a weeks wait or have made it unavailable
    • If online available consider one person collecting for all on farm and leaving outside
  • If you have had prescriptions in the past that are intermittent consider getting enough to get through for 6 weeks.  There may be a delay in refreshing them so do so immediately
  • All other retail outlets will remain closed – even online -  they are not considered essential services so do not expect delivery
  • Rural supply stores are closed in person.  They will deliver but they will need time to plan and they are also in isolation so make sure you have sufficient for at least 6 wks.

Movement Records

Everyone who is to be isolated from Wed 25/3/2020 is to be recorded by management

  • name and contact of each person in house.  If no phone number (eg children) record whom to contact instead.
  • no one other than these people to be on farm or in houses until L4 has been removed (22nd April)

EVERYTIME movement from farm occurs (eg to get supplies from town) notification to Management (via txt) of exit and return

Contractors will be allowed on farm if they are required for essential services (animal health, feed deliveries etc) they will be required to follow isolation (2m+) protocol.  Their precence to be recorded (time and dates in and out, record names of people coming to site)

The farm has been listed with MPI as an essential service.  We may be required to advise them of all movements should any of us become unwell.

click here to get PDF

Farm On

If anyone becomes symptomatic consult the COVID19 web page for instructions (they may change)

Only use the healthline if you have symptoms refer to the web page for information about national status as information will change .

Be gentle on yourselves and others.  See our blog post about people in pandemic state written before government announcement.

Farmers will continue to work, will feed those that are hungry and we will get through this.  We wrote about it earlier in the month here

Look out for each other and ring a mate - you are not alone.

PDF of this list is here


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