Latest Update to Essential Businesses

31 Mar 20

The Government updated its definition of ‘essential businesses’ late on the afternoon of 30 March 2020.

There is greater clarification on essential non-food consumer products. Businesses are able to sell essential non-food consumer products provided they do so in a way that protects the public and minimises the risk of Covid-19 spreading:

  • Orders must be taken online or by phone only. Store fronts must not be open and the public should not be able to visit stores to select or collect goods.
  • Orders must be for essential non-food consumer products.
  • In fulfilling orders, businesses must take all appropriate public health measures.
  • Orders must be home-delivered in a contactless way.
  • The business must inform MBIE of its intention to offer essential non-food products for sale and provide a list of the products they intend to offer.

The intention is to give households access to necessities to safely isolate, stay connected, and to work or study from home during a period of Alert Level 4 restrictions.

It is difficult to be prescriptive about what an essential product is, but the latest information indicates that essential goods cover those products that keep people warm, replace key household appliances, and maintains people’s health. They may include, for example, blankets, heaters, kitchenware and appliances, whiteware, computer equipment and mobile phones.

Businesses will need to form a judgement as to which of their products are genuinely essential. There is an expectation that businesses and households will act responsibly when deciding what ‘essential good’ might be.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about Covid-19 employment please contact our specialist Employment Team.


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