Food truck owners are living off their savings and government subsidies, nervous to book the events they heavily rely on at the risk of losing thousands of dollars if cancelled.
With summer around the corner, all they can do is be positive and hope events can go ahead soon.
Johney's Dumpling House owner Johney Zhou said the business' savings had disappeared and it "wouldn't be anywhere without the wage subsidy".
"Debt is being accumulated just so we can keep the dumpling dream alive."
He said events and markets were what started the business and brought it to where it was now.
"It's the core of the business. It's how we market the brand, it's how we reach people in different parts of the country, and lets us travel."
The year before last, the dumpling business was booked out to 130 events and markets from December to March.
Last year it dropped to just under 100 after Zhou had to let go some experienced staff following a period of no events and changing alert levels.
"We do rely on the summer, it's what helps us get through. We carry a bit of debt being in hospitality and being where we are in the country, relying on visitors.
"We're at the stage now where we have to book events for the summer but we don't know what's going to happen.
"If you put down a big deposit, you might not see it again."
Johney's Dumpling House also has a permanent space at The Rising Tide in Mount Maunganui and Our Place in Tauranga CBD and Zhou said this was always steady.
Zhou said it was scary planning for summer events with so much uncertainty, and finding staff was the biggest challenge at the moment.
"To convince some staff to stay with you when you don't even know yourself what's going to happen. It is worrying, but I try to keep positive."
Zhou said not having tourists or people on working visas hurt the business the most as they were both customers and summer staff.
"We put a job ad up and normally we get 30 applications, and we've got one in a couple of days."
Heat Caravan owner Felipe Boff is booked out until March, but he hasn't been able to work since the country went into lockdown. The bookings mean nothing if events don't go ahead.
"I have lots of jobs to do, I just have to be able to do it ... This year is basically lost."
He's living off his savings, money put aside for a house, and the government subsidy "trying to survive".
If no events went ahead this summer, he said he would need to find another job, as many other food truck owners he knew were now doing.
"It's the only way to pay for the kids, food, school."
Machup Burger owner Alex Dalerci said food trucks risked losing thousands if events applied for were cancelled.
"I know lots of food trucks are waiting because if we move to level 3 or stay in level 2, there are no events and everyone loses their money."
Summer was the crucial season for him, and he worked seven days a week as this was when he made most of his money.
"It's a very hard time for food truckers ... we are struggling. I talk to many others at the moment and we're all in the same boat."
He said he would "lose a lot and have to live off of savings" if he was unable to work, but said he was fortunate he did not have rent to pay.
Food Truck Events co-owner Tania Simpson said fewer trucks were applying.
"Everything has slowed down ... events have taken a huge hit."
The Hamilton-based business was the middle man between clients that needed a food truck or a food truck that needed work.
It ran up to 25 trucks at the Gourmet Night Market in Mount Maunganui and was looking for 60 trucks for the Tauranga City Council New Year's Eve event.
The business also ran the food trucks at the cricket and was starting up a Food Truck Fiesta at Pāpāmoa College on Saturdays from 5pm to 8pm.
She said people were reluctant to go out and hoped the public would get back their confidence.
"An event is a time when a community comes together, and we need to connect."
Simpson said vendors paid a partial deposit per night and would get their money back if the event was cancelled.