"It's been a hard, long seven weeks," bar owner Ashleigh Gee says.
Yesterday, she was busy readying her cocktail bar, Miss Gee's, on The Strand, for its reopening.
Today she will be able to serve her first drink since the Government lockdown in response to the arrival of Covid-19.
Malls, cafes and restaurants reopened last Thursday but bars had to wait another week before opening in level 2 unless patrons were seated and served food with their drinks.
On the eve of the big event, Gee tells the Bay of Plenty Times she is more nervous now than when she first opened the cocktail bar just seven months ago.
Closing the doors in March was a "surreal" feeling, Gee said, but being able to reopen was going to be "a huge relief".
"I am going to be smiles from ear to ear. But at the same time, it is not over yet. The challenge has only just begun," she said.
"Gone are the days where people can just come in for a drink. It is going to be hard for owners."
Gee said it was daunting for her because no one could have predicted a pandemic a few months after opening her first hospitality business.
But it had been "awesome" to see her staff "hang in there" through the past seven weeks.
"We have had really cool support from our customers and people around town who can't wait to come in and have a drink.
"That has kept me positive. It's been a hard, long seven weeks."
Gee said the extra week had allowed her to see how other businesses were operating under the new rules and prepare for her reopening.
Miss Gee's will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and had cut its lunchtime trade until they can gauge what business will look like in level 2.
"I think businesses are just going to have to get creative," she said.
Welcome Bay Tavern venue manager Kamal Singh said it was exciting to be able to open the doors again.
"Hopefully we will get everyone back and we will try our best to keep everyone safe."
Singh said operating in level 2 meant only every second gaming machine could be used and there would be screens put up between them. The tavern could not accept any parties or bookings of more than 10 people and the tables were distanced.
"We can't wait to be back."
Anann Pineapple pub co-owner Leigh Bartosh said a lot of backpackers and kiwifruit workers traditionally visited the bar at this time of year but after being closed since March it is "all about the regulars".
"We've been getting text messages personally to us from our customers asking about where we're at and when we are going to open."
Bartosh said he had "no qualms" with staying closed for another week because it gave him a chance to see how other bars operated in level 2 and prepare his own business for opening.
Tables have been spaced out as much as possible and Bartosh was looking at ways to get a sanitisation station at the pool table so people can play pool.
Customers will also have to be served at their tables.
"We've been in the industry a long time, so we know how to do that," he said.
"I think it's just a case of making the customers aware that this is what happens now - that's how they have to behave when they are in the premises and that's not just here that's across the board. It can't be just like it was when they used to sidle up to the bar and order, it's changed now.''
The bar will have a QR-code system for contact-tracing as well as a paper register that only staff will touch.
Customers will have to wait at the door to be seated.
''If we know we've got all our tables full, then we'll be full - that's just the way it has to be and it's a one table out, one table in system, just like the supermarkets - that's the way it will operate.''
Te Puke Hotel's Sue Peat said she had missed her regulars "so much" and could not wait to open today.
Peat said she was "gutted" after hearing the news bars would have to wait until May 21 to open a week behind other businesses.
"From what I could gather the difference between a bar and a restaurant is that people who dine are less likely to want to communicate with anyone else in the restaurant other than their own group," she said.
''At the end of the day it is the ruling that we have been given based on the advice the powers-that-be have been presented, so we have to go along with it.''
Peat said customers will not be able to approach the bar, only one person can serve a table and staff will keep a watchful eye on social distancing once the bar reopened.
"From what I have witnessed, the human race is getting pretty good at this on their own using their common sense.
"And, of course, the other obvious thing is hygiene and vigorous cleaning measures which I think is a no brainer."