Free masks and RATs for staff
As COVID-19 cases surged across the country, the government has made a move to provide free face masks and RAT tests available.
“There’s no question the combination of a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations, the worst flu season in recent memory and corresponding staff absences are putting health workers and the whole health system under extreme pressure,” Ayesha Verrall, Minister for COVID-19 Response, said in a statement.
While employees in hair, beauty and aesthetic clinics have been required to wear masks since re-opening, these have been at the cost of the individual or the business. With this move, businesses will be able to claim the free masks as required.
Free tests also ensure that salon and clinic owners are able to request their staff test regularly, to help stop the spread within their business.
New Zealand, with its population of 5.1 million, recorded 11,382 new cases of COVID on Thursday, with a total of 68,737 currently infected with the virus. Of those, 765 are currently in hospital.
The government shelved its “zero-COVID” policy earlier this year once the population was largely vaccinated and the virus has been allowed to spread.
Dr Verrall added that while COVID-zero was no longer a possibility, people still need to wear masks, get tested and isolate if they or anyone in their home tests positive to the virus.
“Now’s not the time to stop wearing masks. Evidence tells us wearing a mask halves your chance of being infected with COVID-19,” Dr Verrall said.
“It also helps protect you against influenza and other winter illnesses. So if you don’t wear a mask for yourself, please wear one for healthcare workers.”
Click here to request your free masks or RAT tests