Plant & Food chief advises customers, collaborators and partners on the transition to COVID-19 alert Level Three

New Zealand moved from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to Alert Level Three at 11.59pm last night and – according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement last week – the country will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.

At Level Three, 400,000 more New Zealanders  returned to work, with key sectors for economic recovery like construction, manufacturing and forestry starting up again.

Plant and Food Research chief executive David Hughes, in a message to customers, collaborators and partners – said Level Three gives greater scope for commercial operations but maintains stringent criteria for how those operations can be conducted.

Many people in essential industries had been working this way for weeks, he said.  And Plant & Food Research had run limited operations at its sites under permission from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Dr Hughes said:

“Now we will restart a wider range of onsite work.”

In brief, this will mean:

  • Some, but not all of our activities at our sites will be resuming.  We will therefore have a wider group of researchers returning to those locations.
  • Priority for restarting onsite work will be given to contracted work, biosecurity, science that supports immediate food and beverage exports and research that underpins the ability of our customers to aid the economic recovery for Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Although we are recommencing some activities at our sites, a large proportion of our staff will also continue working from home.
  • Our sites will remain closed with access only by approved staff.
  • We will have stringent hygiene, distancing and contact tracing measures in place.

He was immensely proud at the resilience displayed by Plant & Food Research staff during Level Four, Dr Hughes said.

Many staff had remained highly productive at home and could continue doing so during Level Three.

This group includes Key Account Managers and Senior Leaders in both Science and General roles.

Hundreds of projects within Pland & Food are now being linked with new Standard Operating Procedures to achieve safety and compliance at Level Three.

Where these new ways of working limit or slow activity, teams are being asked to be innovative in their search for safe solutions.

Source:  Plant & Food Research

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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