Reopening Bay businesses are trying to navigate the new Delta alert level 2 restrictions, with one shop owner saying the rules could put customers off from entering.
Meanwhile, a local hair salon owner says they are fully booked for the next two weeks, and a Mount Maungnaui gym has had to downsize classes and spend hours preparing the space to reopen at level 2.
Bettie Monroe store owner Helen Fraser said it felt "good" to reopen, however, the updated restrictions in place under alert level 2 were a "little bit disappointing".
She believed the rules were preventing the more "apprehensive" customers from entering the Mount Maunganui clothing store.
"All these restrictions are hindering our customers coming through the door. People are a bit apprehensive to go out shopping."
"It is just customers not wanting to come through the doors because of all the fear of Covid. But we don't have Covid here."
Fraser said she "absolutely understood" why there were restrictions in places with community cases, such as Auckland.
A Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Covid-19 group spokesperson said Delta was "much more transmissible" than previous Covid-19 varients, which is why it had "strengthened the response and introduced extra requirements" at level 2.
"Although no community cases have been reported outside the Auckland and Wellington areas to date, we have seen how quickly Delta can spread and we need to ensure the right settings are in place to protect everybody.
"We know there is an incredibly challenging time for everybody, including small businesses, and we thank them for doing their bit over the few past weeks."
Blow Hair Co co-owner Aaron Fenwick said it had been a "great transition" back to work, with clients "absolutely ecstatic" to return to the salon.
On Wednesday morning, Fenwick said clients appeared "a lot more relaxed" compared with alert level 2 last year.
"The clients are coming in and feeling like they are happy to be back, they are happy to be part of normal life again," he said.
The Mount Maunganui hair salon was fully booked for the next two weeks, he said.
"We are working nearly every day between now and the end of the month."
Meanwhile, Cuts Barbershop owner Pam Furey said she hoped customers would wear their masks and stick to rules under alert level 2.
She said it was "fantastic" to be back at work as she became "quite bored" in lockdown.
"We haven't stopped since half-past eight," she said. "I will just finish when I can."
Elizabeth Cafe & Larder owner Connie Richards said it was good to be back, getting some income, and being able to fully support the staff.
Constantly wearing masks made hearing and talking difficult, but she said customers were "smiling through their eyes".
She hoped business would pick up again when more businesses went back to having staff work in town and children went back to school.
"If it's only like this for a week, that's okay but if it's longer, we're in trouble."
Spongedrop cafe manager Caitlin Bradfield said they were "pretty pleased" with the first day at level 2, selling out of lots of food items before midday.
She asked customers to be "patient, understanding and friendly" while staff navigated working under alert level 2 restrictions.
Bradfield said staff found it uncomfortable to wear masks while at work.
"We all wish we didn't have to wear the masks," she said. "But it is what it is I suppose."
Meanwhile, Tauranga resident Simon Kent said he had been "hanging out" to walk up Mauao.
He was eager to get in a good workout yesterday and beat the rain.
"This is my happy place."
Kent said in lockdown he was regularly walking up a set of stairs in an empty building close to home.
Tauranga Yoga Centre manager and teacher Sue Furey said the restrictions were "challenging ... but you've got to do what you've got to do".
She said the classes would more than halve in size from 40 down to 17 and they were not allowing casuals at this stage.
Furey also suspected many members would not come until the restrictions loosened further.
As tough as the restrictions on everyone, she said it was "great" to finally be back.
"I've missed it ... I've missed that human interaction."
Mount F45 co-owner Brett Taylor said a "huge" amount of setup happened after the announcement to do what was needed to open the gym today.
This included hours duct taping the studio into zones, creating different entry and exit doors, no access to the water cooler, cleaning spray and wipes for each station, and masks worn by trainers at all times, and members when they aren't exercising.
The 2m rule meant only 18 members could be in the studio at a given time, and the smaller classes impacted the business, he said.
He said they've had to be firm around boundaries within the studio but were also making sure the members would feel like they were in the same fun environment.
"We have got a really nice vibe, probably exceeding expectations to be honest," he said.
Tauranga City Council commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said she was back in the council building yesterday and there had been a lot of people coming in asking for their rates rebate.
"We had quite a bit of concern from ratepayers that they couldn't get in. They like to do it face-to-face - many of them are elderly and they don't like dealing with faceless people."
Tolley said town had been "quite busy" and she noticed everyone was wearing face masks and keeping safe distances which was "really good to see".
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt expected the bounce back to be slower than last year due to the extra restrictions, lack of Auckland visitors and businesses transitioning from work from home.
He said the biggest boost from level 2 would be for the retail and hospitality sector, which employs around 9 per cent of the workforce.
He said the masks have "definitely made things difficult" for trainers trying to encourage members as well as general communication.
Bayfair centre manager Steve Ellingford said there was a "really nice vibe" at the mall on the first day at level 2, and customers were well behaved.
Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber said the move to alert level 2 was "good for the area" to "transition back towards normality".
He said it was critical for everyone to follow rules to avoid moving up alert levels.
A Tauranga Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman said moving to Level 2 will be "a huge sigh of relief" for many businesses despite the revised restrictions, but not for those that work in events.
She said the return of foot and vehicle traffic in and around the city was noticeable, and expected this to increase over the coming days and the "support local" sentiment was deeply rooted.