The doors to many Tauranga businesses will reopen today after what some say has felt like an eternity.
One hospitality business is ready to reopen again after operating for just three days before the nation went into Covid-19 lockdown almost two months ago.
But business at level 2 will look a little different for many retail stores, restaurants, public pools, gyms and shopping malls as strict health and safety measures are adhered to.
Wendy Simister, owner and director of Wendys Boutique on 11th Ave and Tilda in the Mount, said it had been a long time since they had been able to see their customers.
"We are absolutely over the moon to be opening our doors.
"Our stores have been closed for just over seven weeks, which feels like an eternity for us... After what has felt like a standstill we are looking forward to what the future brings."
Simister said safety procedures and protocols had been put in place, including a guest register for customers to sign on arrival, hand sanitiser, 1m distancing and constant cleaning of fitting rooms, handrails and the eftpos machines.
The Fat Brother co-founder Benoit Boussuge said the business on First Ave opened just three days before the lockdown.
"The first night we sold about 500 burgers in three hours," he said. "It left us feeling like we were doing something great."
But three days later the late-night food business had to close.
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"It was bad luck but it gave us some time to think about what we want to do with the businesses."
Boussuge said the business reopened in level 3 with a new online menu and contactless delivery but level 2 meant people could now also order direct from the shop.
"Moving to level 2 I think people are going to go back to their normal routines. They are going to start to go out more.
"That mentality of being able to break the bubbles and see what is new in town and what is open will be beneficial for us."
Mount Maunganui RSA support manager Peter Moss said the RSA's Munro's Restaurant & Cafe will be open for business from today offering light meals, but the bar would have to wait until next week.
However, Moss said business was going to look different in level 2.
"In level 2 we are not going to have any major entertainment, there will be no dancing, which is a shame because it is a big part of our business.
"People won't be able to play snooker, eight ball or darts. If people want to come in they have to have a meal and they have to be seated and served at the tables."
Moss said tables had been set up to adhere to physical distancing rules and opening hours would be shorter.
"It is going to look pretty different in lots of ways," he said. "But on the other hand, it is a way of keeping people safe."
Tga Box gym owner and head coach Chris Walker said the gym was adhering to health and safety measures to be able to open in level 2.
That included encouraging members to use hand sanitiser on entry and before and after classes, maintaining social distancing, and being more vigilant at cleaning equipment.
"We are very excited to open again. We are in an industry that helps people maintain a good balance with mental and physical health.
"In general, it will be nice to see all of the members again and get back to some normality."
Bay Venues facilities will reopen in stages. The Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre and Arataki Community Centre will open today , Baywave and Mount Hot Pools on Friday and Trustpower Arena will open its doors on Monday. The Clubfit Gym at Baywave will also reopen on May 15.
Bay Venues chief executive Justine Brennan was excited to be reopening in level 2.
All facilities would adopt physical distancing measures, strict health and safety protocols and contact tracing but Brennan said further guidelines were still being received.
"We have a huge part to play in helping Tauranga residents return to their daily routines. We are doing this as well as we can while adhering to the guidelines."
Malls would adopt a series of health and safety measures, foot traffic would be monitored, food courts would operate with spaced out tables, floor stickers for queues, and shops may adopt one in one out systems.
Bayfair Shopping centre manager Steve Ellingford said while the mall remained open to provide essential services he welcomed the move to level 2.
"While the health and safety of everyone who visits the centre remains our priority, we are pleased that retailers will have the opportunity to open safely to customers this Thursday and further support the local community and economy."
Ellingford expected an increase in foot traffic this weekend now the mall was open and would be closely monitoring traffic numbers, have extra security, cleaning and centre staff on hand.
Tauranga Crossing general manager Lauren Riley said lockdown was a "huge disruption" and she was "thrilled" to be opening in level 2.
"We're hugely proud of our team, our customers, our community and the whole country for having made such huge sacrifices to keep each other safe."
Papamoa Plaza manager David Hill said he was ready to reopen the mall.
"The pain has been real. But everyone has reacted positively and we are super excited to be able to return to a new normal."
While some businesses are welcoming back customers after lockdown others are having to wait another week before being able to open their doors.
Bars will be able to open a week from now on May 21 but should keep groups seated, separated and they should use table service with a single server to a group.
But being one the last to open in level 2 doesn't bother Anann Pineapple Pub owner Leigh Bartosh.
"It gives us another week to look at the systems we put in place. We can look at others to see how they operate. It also gives us the chance to go out ourselves and see if we are on the right track."
Bartosh said the Palmer Place bar in Te Puke would continue to operate its takeaway service but did not mind waiting another week to open fully.
"We do food but we are classed as a bar and we could have opened tomorrow if we enforced the Easter trading laws. But because we are a bar a lot of business is people just coming in for a drink. We weren't going to push them to have food or have a time limit."
He said he looked forward to welcoming back his customers in one more week.
"It will be good to see our regular customers again. It is a very personal business this and it is the customers who really make it."