COVID-19: Business travel across Alert Level Boundaries

An Alert Level Boundary separates areas that are at Alert Level 3 from the rest of New Zealand. To travel across Alert Level Boundaries you’ll need to apply for Business Travel Documents. Here is information on current boundaries and the process of applying.

Travel across boundaries

The government has announced a new process for travel during a resurgence of COVID-19. During a regional resurgence, travel into or out of an affected region may be limited with a COVID-19 Alert Level Boundary.

It’s important to note that travel will only be allowed for specific reasons and within specific parameters. You must adhere to the conditions under which your exemption was granted.

Where possible, travel must be minimised and everyone should work remotely if they can.

In order to travel across the boundary you will need to have proof that you either fit into a permitted activity or have a specific exemption to travel. The Business Travel Document is one form of accepted evidence. For example, freight or delivery vehicles could provide delivery dockets.

Exemptions will be limited to critical activity only. Requests will need to meet criteria and many requests will not be approved.

If you are permitted activity, you are already allowed to cross the boundary, but getting the official Business Travel Document will make the process of crossing a boundary much quicker and easier.

Location of boundaries

Boundaries will generally be based on regional boundaries. They may be adjusted for where a specific cluster has occurred or around regular commuting traffic.

For a more detailed description of the current Auckland region boundary, visit Unite against COVID-19.

Auckland boundary description for Alert Level 3 – covid19.govt.nz

There is also information about certain services that can cross a boundary.

Working for certain businesses or services – covid19.govt.nz

Exemptions for individuals

If your request relates to personal or individual travel, this will be processed by the Ministry of Health.

Covid-19: Travel within New Zealand — Ministry of Health

Before you start

Nominate an authorised person for your business. This person should apply on behalf of your business. This person should have a good understanding of the business’ travel operations, such as who is likely to need to travel, which boundaries they would need to cross, and why it is critical for them to travel. This could be the business owner, manager or administrator.

Employees cannot register, the employer will make a request on their behalf if they are required to travel across the boundary in order to deliver critical services.

Make sure you know which business category you fall into – you will need this information when you apply.

Here is a list of categories, each will also have a list of subcategories you will need to choose from. If your business does not fit into one of these categories, and you consider there is a critical need for you or your business to travel, you may make a request for an exemption in the system. This will be considered by the Director General of Health.

  • Border services and MIQ
  • Health and Disability Services
  • Social Services
  • Education Sector
  • Justice Sector
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management
  • Parliament
  • Unions
  • Other Public Sector services
  • Transport, logistics, and vehicle services
  • Building and construction
  • Scientific Services
  • Utilities and communications
  • Animal welfare
  • Food and beverage
  • Emergency – risk to life/health, or significant environmental damage
  • Certain types of business travel

Types of travel

There are 6 different kinds of travel which are permitted, make sure you know the difference between them and apply for the correct type.

If a worker needs to pass through a restricted region in order to deliver critical services. For example, if Auckland were in Alert Level 3, and the rest of NZ in Alert Level 2; and your work needed to travel from Whangarei to Hamilton.

Worker commute
Businesses or organisations undertaking critical services that have either: key staff critical to operations who will need to commute to work across a boundary; or a significant portion of workers are required to commute across a boundary in order to ensure minimum staff are available for operations.

Multiple business journeys
Businesses or organisations that will need to cross the boundary as part of undertaking critical work.

One way travel out of AL3
If a worker needs to cross the boundary just once out of the Alert Level 3 area, for example if they are re-locating for the duration of the resurgence in order to maintain business continuity for a critical service.

One way travel into AL3
If a worker needs to cross the boundary just once into an Alert Level 3 area, for example if they are re-locating for the duration of the resurgence in order to maintain business continuity for a critical service.

Single return trip
If a worker needs to cross the boundary for a one-off service considered to be critical, and will then be returning.

How to register

Businesses will need to register to travel across boundaries.

What you need to apply:

your RealMe login – sign up to RealMe if you do not have a login

the purpose of your travel request

what boundaries you or your workers might need to travel across

know the type of travel your workers will need to do (see above for travel types)

the names of all the workers you are requesting documents for.

Login or signup to Business Connect to register to travel across boundaries.

After you have submitted your request, you will get an automatic email saying your request has been received.

The Business Travel Register processes requests for permitted travel in real time.

Requests for exemptions to travel require approval from the Director General of Health. We aim to provide notice the outcome from the Director General of Health within 2 days.

Getting your documents

Police may verify your reasons for travel against your documents, so it is important to ensure that you provide accurate information when completing the form.

If your business type is on the list of permitted businesses, you will automatically be notified that your Business Travel Documents are available to download. Each person’s document will include:

  • their name and document number
  • the business details and business category
  • the travel reason
  • the travel type and boundary they can cross
  • a QR code which boundary officials will scan as they cross the boundary.

If your business type is not on the list of permitted businesses your request will be reviewed by the Director General of Health and you will receive an email with the result. If your request is approved, you can log back into the tool to collect your travel documents.

Crossing an Alert Level Boundary

It is recommended you print your documents. The driver of the vehicle should display their document on the dashboard so it is visible to the boundary officials.

Every person in a vehicle needs to have their documents with them, this can be a physical printed copy or on a smartphone. Each person will need to present their document to boundary officials. If there is someone in your vehicle who does not have a document, they may not be able to cross the boundary.

SOURCE: Business.govt.nz

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert