Rural support through COVID-19


Getting prepared for COVID-19 on farm

Farms across the country are tidying up or preparing their plans for when COVID-19 arrives on farm. Make no mistake, it is coming and with good planning we can all make our way through it. It’s important for both large and small farms to think about creating “bubbles of one” and separating employees so jobs, especially milking, can still take place when it arrives. Teams which can’t separate, you’ll need to register your farm as a Critical Worker and access some RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) tests, to enable staff to come to work if they are a close contact.

Rural Support Trust's throughout NZ have been working with district health boards (DHB's), Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), with input from various food and fibre industry groups, urging and ensuring plans are put in place  so a farm can continue to operate if the farmer, an employee, or a family member contracts COVID-19.

The need to self-isolate will bring challenges to farming families and their businesses. If you haven't, now is the time to talk to your family and neighbours about what you would do to continue your operations should you, a team member or a family member contract COVID-19.

Checklist for your home

  • Tissues
  • Soap
  • Sanitiser
  • Masks
  • Cleaning products & gloves Rubbish bags (try and have separate bags for tissues before putting in main rubbish bags)
  • Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen
  • Drinks and other medications that help with cold and flu-like symptoms, like lemon tea with honey, cough syrup
  • Practice healthy habits like coughing/sneezing into elbow and washing hands to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Could ventilation be improved? Even opening windows will help to get rid of the virus.


Ways to feel better if you're māuiui unwell

For tiredness, fever, aches and pains:
• Get plenty of sleep and rest to help your body recover
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
• Take medication like paracetomol or ibuprofen

For coughs, sore throats or blocked noses, try:
• Hot lemon and honey or kawakawa tea
• Saltwater gargling
• Chest vapour rubs
• Nose and throat treatments, like sprays
• Cough syrup or soothing lozenges

Contacts for support services

• COVID-19 Healthline: 0800 358 5453
• Healthline: 0800 611 116 (for advice on other health matters)
• PlunketLine: 0800 933 922 (for health advice regarding babies or children)
• Family Services: 0800 211 211

Business Continuity Planning

Having a business continuity plan is important for ensuring your farm can continue to operate as efficiently as possible during any unplanned disruption.

Business continuity planning documents are available from the DairyNZ website - click here.

How self-management works

Most people with mild to moderate symptoms will be required to self-manage their illness at home, or in suitable alternative accommodation, with support from local healthcare providers.

Health providers will make sure the right support is available to you and your whole whānau is prepared. Digital support tools will also be made available through the Health Hub.

For the vast majority of us, there is no need to fear Omicron, but we need to take the virus seriously. It is important to keep following the rules for a while longer to ensure there are enough hospital beds for the more vulnerable.

Self-Isolation means:

  • Not going to work or school
  • Not going to any public places (e.g. shops, parks, beaches)
  • Not using public transport
  • Not having any visitors in your home, unless they are providing healthcare, emergency maintenance or emergency services.

You are only allowed to leave self-isolation to:

  • Seek urgent medical care
  • Avoid an emergency situation (including to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm from domestic violence)

If you are unsure where to start or what to do, call us now for a confidential chat on 0800 787 254 (RURAL HELP)

Useful links to various Government and Indusrty websites:

On-Farm checklist for Farmers 
Fonterra - Planning for the potential impact of COVID19 on-farm
Critical Workers - Find out what a critical service is, who is eligible to be a critical worker and where you can find more information about the Close Contact Exemption Scheme.
Unite against COVID-19 main NZ Website
MPI COVID-19 Protection Framework: Guidance for the Primary Sector - Find out about the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework and what it means for the primary sector.

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Rural Support Trust NZ