We understand from Government that the COVID-19 alert may return to Alert Level 3 in the next 2 to 3 weeks, if the infection rate continues to fall.
Attention is now turning to the return to Level 3 and understanding what this looks like for our sector.
We expect is definition of essential service sectors will be expanded, and most nursery and retail activities can resume.
Businesses like bars, cafes, restaurants will remain closed and gatherings of more than 50 people will still be banned.
Moving to Level 3 will be welcomed by our industry, however it will not be BAU, or necessarily easy.
It is unclear if the whole country will go to Level 3 at once, or if the transition will be regional. Our sector operates nationally, so we have asked for prior notice of changes to the status in any regions.
The distancing and health rules that have been implemented during Level 4 will continue but must be managed across larger teams of workers.
Horticulture and viticulture have shown us how this works as growers and packhouses are already successfully operating to these higher standards.
It has not been easy for those industries, with many logistical and workplace issues to overcome. Based on their experience, nurseries are likely to see significant constraints in the supply chain. Expect shortages of materials like pallets, trolleys, transport space, and delays in importing materials. It will be frustrating.
We have proven that we can manage this. Our response to Level 4 has been impressive - thank you, but this time around we need to ensure that the whole industry gets involved.
NZ Plant Producers is already working with members to prepare for Level 3: