Tauranga business leaders say staying at Covid-19 alert level 2 was a "smart decision" with a wage subsidy extension to help keep workers employed.
But a Tauranga nail salon owner has been left "shocked" by the announcement, saying she had already resigned to a shift to level 3.
Meanwhile, Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell says Covid-19 was something Kiwis would have to live with and called for people to "be kind to each other".
The comments come as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country, excluding Auckland, would remain at alert level 2 until 11.59pm on August 26. Auckland will remain at level 3.
"There is nothing to suggest we need to move to a level 4 lockdown at this stage," she said in a media stand up yesterday.
She also announced the Government would extend the wage subsidy to protect jobs.
The details are yet to be finalised, but it will be nationwide and will cover the period of time that level 3 restrictions are in place.
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday announced there were 12 new confirmed cases of Covid in the community and one probable case.
One of the 13 cases was in hospital. All of the new cases were linked to an existing cluster, though one - the person in Auckland Hospital - was still under investigation.
There are 30 active cases connected to the recent outbreak.
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Allure Nail Studio owner Emma Fraser said she was "in two minds" about the level 2 announcement, saying she was happy to be still trading but hoped Covid-19 was not in the community.
"I was shocked ... I was really resigned to the fact we were going into level 3," she said.
"I just hope to gosh we don't have any transmissions ... it's given us a bit of anxiety, the fact it could still happen."
Fraser said some clients had become more cautious but did not anticipate level 2 would impact the business.
Powell was "relieved" to stay at level 2.
He said Covid-19 was something New Zealanders would have to learn to live with and called for people to "be kind to each other".
"I think we need to be as patient as we can with each other understanding that we all have different circumstances right now."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said staying at level 2 was a "smart decision".
While businesses would be "relatively happier", he said domestic tourism and hospitality businesses would still be hit.
"Few[er] people will be travelling and there are not enough locals to support those businesses."
Cowley said he was confident businesses would buy into the contact tracing to help respond faster to future flare-ups.
But he said the Government's response needed to include better border protection, better contact tracing, support for increasing business resilience, and targeted staff wage subsidy for the most impacted businesses.
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Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt the impact of staying at level 2 would be "relatively small" but would affect hospitality, retail, and tourism, particularly those that depend on Auckland as their market.
"They're a big market for us. Having them restricted from being able to come here will obviously cause problems."
However, he said the wage subsidy extension would help.
Tutt said extended restrictions would have longer-term effects on employment, investment and business confidence.
"The bigger picture problem is lack of confidence in the business community by having to yo-yo in and out of levels because they haven't managed the border."
Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said: "It could have been worse".
Sciascia said level 2 was better than level 3 but there would still be difficulties for some businesses.
"Some restaurants can switch to pickup or delivery but some can't and bars, in particular, will have some difficulties."
He said while the country awaits the details of the extended wage subsidy, accommodation providers had experienced a serious downturn in business with many cancellations in the past 48 hours.
"The wage subsidy will be essential to keep workers employed."
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne hoped the Government's swift action would contain the outbreak, allowing domestic tourism to safely resume again.
Dunn said the change in alert levels had created significant uncertainty for tourism businesses and a move up alert levels would mean tourism operators would not be able to operate.
"The extension of the wage subsidy is heartening for the industry and will offer some respite at this difficult time."
Otūmoetai College principal Russell Gordon said staff "were hoping for the best but we had prepared for the worst".
"I feel for my colleagues in Auckland but I am relieved and thrilled for the teachers in this region and the rest of New Zealand. Going back into online learning would have been a lot of hard work for them."
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said he was "pleased" Bay of Plenty had not gone into lockdown and the wage subsidy extension demonstrated how important Auckland was to the national economy.
"There will be a lot of people who will be very pleased about that ... but at some point, it will have to come off and people will need to think through what that means and prepare for that."