Following feedback from businesses, the Ministry of Health is simplifying the documentation required by critical workers accessing rapid antigen tests under the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. To do this, the ministry has updated the registration confirmation email which businesses automatically receive after they self-register as a critical service through business.govt.nz.

The email confirming registration now includes a declaration template which businesses can complete for each critical worker who will need to access rapid antigen tests. Businesses can now declare that each worker who needs to access rapid antigen tests is critical to their operation and is fully vaccinated.

This means that when critical workers collect their rapid antigen tests from a Ministry of Health distribution hub, they need only bring the completed declaration form (either printed or a digital copy), a form of personal identification such as a driver’s licence, and the text message confirming they are a close contact and therefore eligible for a test.

In the case of businesses who have already self-registered as critical, their existing documentation remains valid. All businesses currently registered as critical will receive an email with instructions on how to receive an updated version of their registration confirmation email that includes the declaration template, if they wish.

During Phases Two and Three of the Omicron response, critical workers who provide a health, MIQ, emergency service or are critical workers of a registered critical service provider who are vaccinated and asymptomatic close contacts of a COVID-19 case are able to continue to work outside their place of residence, as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period and follow specific health protocols.

Critical workers who are participating in the scheme will only be allowed to go to and from work or to collect their free Rapid Antigen Test kits from their closest collection site. They must otherwise stay in their place of self-isolation.

The Ministry of Health website now includes advice about how to self-register as a close contact for critical workers who need to go and collect RAT tests. 

If you are a close contact who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, you may be able to continue to work through the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, if you work for a critical service.

You can self-identify as a close contact by going to the Location of Interest visit form, and typing ‘Critical’ into the Find a Location of Interest box. Find the date corresponding with the date you were last exposed and select the Critical Worker exposure (self-identified) option. You will receive a text confirming your registration as a close contact (usually within three hours).

If you are unable to fill in the form, you can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.