Guidance for workplaces that have a case of COVID-19

Last updated: 28 April 2020

If an employee, customer or visitor becomes a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case and has been at your workplace while potentially infectious there are standard processes that will be followed.

You may be told by an employee directly, or notified the by the local public health unit (PHU) and then you should:

  • inform any Health and Safety Managers within the organisation; they are usually the best people to have contact with the PHU
  • isolate spaces that this person may have spent significant time in and ensure cleaning is undertaken before they are able to be used (see General cleaning for more information)
    • specific or additional advice will be given by public health officials of any cleaning requirements based on the extent of exposure
  • assist as required with the PHUs contact tracing process (see below) and support any staff identified as a close contact to self-isolate for 14 day
  • follow PHU advice on communication with your employees and customers (see below)
  • consider store or site closure – this decision should be made on the advice of a public health official based on information on the extent of the exposure
  • follow PHU advice on any additional requirements that are specific to your type of business.

Remember, at any time, an employee who fells unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 should be encouraged to go home and to seek help by calling their GP (doctor) or call Healthline, for free, on 0800 358 5453.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing will be undertaken by PHUs and/or the Ministry of Health to determine potential exposure to employees, customers and visitors. Contacts may be determined to be close contacts and require 14 days self-isolation. There may also be casual contacts who need no further specific action.  

The contact tracing process involves factual information gathering which could include interviews, CCTV, checking of rosters and assessing cleaning procedures that had occurred whilst/after confirmed case was on site.  

Communication with employees

Follow advice from your PHU to help you inform employees of the situation and what interventions will need to be followed such as contact tracing, cleaning, and support options available. 

This could include:

  • having Ministry of Health guidance readily available for employees
  • any support available to employees, through the business or government.

Communication with customers

Follow advice from the PHU to help you inform customers of current situation, and what actions will be taken.

This could include:

  • signage at the front of the store to inform customers of a confirmed case and any information from health officials
  • notifing customers via media platform (newsletter, Facebook etc) of a confirmed case and any information from health officials
  • having Ministry of Health guidance readily available for customers.
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