Guidance on equine activities permitted under COVID-19 Alert Level 3
The following relevant information was provided among guidance issued today by the Ministry for Primary Industries. NZTR also reminds all employers/businesses that they must have a COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan (refer link to Worksafe template) to operate under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.
Any queries may be directed to Martin Burns, GM Welfare & Sustainability.
At Level 3 horses are classed as freight, and all freight can be distributed and received. Therefore, providing you use a commercial horse transporter the horses that need to be moved can go anywhere else in New Zealand.
If you are transporting horses within your region, this can be done with a private float. If you are doing this please ensure you practice safe distancing, strict hygiene measures, and contact tracing is possible, reduce risks to yourself and the horses. This should be something you have done before.
Farriers, Horse care services (including clippers, saddle fitters, dentistry, chiropractors etc)
Animal and horse care service businesses may operate at Alert Level 3, but only if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with (human) customers, and any other public health measures are taken to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. If they can’t operate safely, they must not provide their services.
The Ministry of Health advises there is no risk from animals having COVID-19, but just like with inanimate objects, they can be fomites or vehicles for transmission.
I’m a breeder/seller/transporter of horses. How do I operate safely?
Businesses can operate at Alert Level 3 if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with customers e.g. through online viewings/sales, contactless pick-up and drop-off.
People are not allowed to view animals in person for sale or adoption. Animal rescue centres or adoption centres remain closed to the public. Alternative options to conduct viewings for adoption/rehoming must be used, e.g. online.
If customers are coming to your property to fetch a horse, you should adhere to all the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including:
- Regular disinfecting of surfaces and equipment used to handle animals.
- Encouraging good hand hygiene by allowing frequent hand washing and sanitising.
- Not having sick people in the workplace.
- Meeting physical distancing requirements when picking-up and dropping off animals.
- During Alert Level 3, everyone should strive for social distancing of no less than 1 metre.
- Customers cannot enter business premises at Alert Level 3, with a few exceptions (eg supermarkets and petrol stations).
- WorkSafe has guidance for businesses on preparing to open at Alert Level 3 here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-advice-for-businesses-operating-at-alert-level-3.
- Please note you should also prepare a COVID-19 safety plan for your workplace. Information about that can be found here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-safety-plan-what-you-need-to-think-about
- If your business cannot operate safely, it needs to remain closed.