Dec 16, 2021
The new Covid traffic light system for managing the risks of person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 creates a new level of complexity for anyone who has staff, for organisers of deer industry events and for Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) itself.
But regardless of the system or the event, the first priority must be to encourage everyone in our deer community to get vaccinated, says DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat.
“Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of the disease being transmitted to humans or deer. If someone does get infected, vaccination also minimises the risk of them developing serious illness.”
DINZ wants to strike the right balance between keeping people safe, protecting families and businesses from the impact of Covid. So, while we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our people and our industry safe from Covid-19, we are trying to operate as normally as possible, Moffat says.
“We now require all people coming to our office to be fully vaccinated. For their part our staff must be vaccinated in order to visit or attend off-site events. We urge anyone who plans to attend a DINZ or NZDFA run event to get vaccinated,” he says.
Covid precautions must be included in the Health and Safety Plan for any DINZ or NZDFA-run event, including:
- Attendees must register in advance and provide their contact details and vaccination status
- All invitees and speakers must be advised to stay away if they are feeling unwell or waiting for the results of a Covid test
- The traffic light applying at the time of the event must be used to determine the number of attendees, room set-up, mask-wearing policy and other details
- Where the vaccination status of all attendees is unknown, it must be assumed that fewer than 100% are vaccinated. This means the more restrictive traffic light settings will apply
- Set up QR code posters
- Provide hand sanitiser and face masks
- Ensure attendees, speakers and venue staff scan in, or provide their name and contact details on a written or digital register
- In the safety briefing for the event, the host must advise attendees that if they become unwell during the event they should immediately self-isolate and seek medical assistance
- Consider setting up an on-line feed from the event so that invitees who are not vaccinated can participate.
DINZ will be reviewing these policies regularly to ensure we are doing what we should to make events and people safe.
Moffat says DINZ has also been asked for guidance for third party-organised deer industry events.
“We strongly encourage everyone to take a cautious approach when inviting groups of people to a farm or an event elsewhere. Follow the advice from the Ministry of Health and take extra precautions in order to minimise the risks to staff and family. This could include requiring visitors to take a rapid antigen test before attending, as this will provide a further degree of protection from exposure to the virus,” he says.
“With stag sales now underway we recommend that organisers proceed with caution and adopt rules similar to those applying to DINZ events. At orange, if the vaccination status of attendees is unknown, the sale will be limited to fewer than 50 people, with 1 metre spacing between attendees and a strong recommendation to wear masks. The post-sale BBQ and beer will have to be put on hold.”
Other suggested steps include not allowing any attendees to handle velvet on display, or to get close to the stags. While there have been no cases reported of deer becoming infected with Covid in New Zealand, widespread transmission of the disease has been reported in wild populations of white-tail deer in the United States.
View the map for the Traffic Light System and more information at covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/traffic-lights-map >>