Concerns Hawke's Bay's horticulture and viticulture workers might not be considered essential workers during this alert level 4 lockdown have been eased.
When the country entered alert level 4 lockdown last year, autumn was well under way and many in the horticulture and viticulture sector were busy bringing in harvest while observing new social distancing measures.
However, with spring not yet sprung and the focus now on pruning and spraying, questions were raised about whether they'd still be considered essential service workers.
These concerns were put to bed during a Ministry for Primary Industries meeting with senior leadership, Minister Damien O'Connor and more than 180 primary sector leaders on Wednesday morning.
MPI confirmed the settings for this alert level 4 were very similar to those used last year, meaning those in the primary industries - food and beverage production for both domestic consumption or export, plus the relevant support services - were still essential.
Veterinary and animal health and welfare, as well as businesses transporting freight also fell into this category, alongside pest management services, key elements of pulp and paper plants and liquid or solid fuel.
Services involved in diagnostics for critical businesses or services like biosecurity, food safety, or public health have also been deemed essential.
It was noted that butchers, green grocers and fishmongers can provide contactless delivery, but not open for customers.
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Alan Pollard, chief executive of New Zealand Apples and Pears, said it was "business as usual as much as it can be".
"For us it's kind of in between seasons. So some businesses are still packing while others are spraying and pruning.
"They're all an essential part of producing a crop.
"Obviously its something we'd rather not have, the fact we've had a hard season, but the industry has gotten straight into gear to operate under level 4."
MPI's director general Ray Smith was in touch with the sector last night and said the call was productive and showed the sector was well placed to deal with the alert level change.
"Given the Delta variant is highly contagious, there was a focus on ensuring the sector can keep its workers safe while still producing food for Kiwis and export."
Strong Covid-19 safety protocols would be enacted including mask use at all times at work, maximising social distancing, regular temperature checks for staff and visitors, use of bubbles for travel to work, and avoiding congregating at break times, he said.