"Proceed with caution."
That's the message a Bay of Plenty business had for people as the Government set out plans to start reopening the country's borders and reconnecting New Zealanders to the world.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set out the plan at a forum on reconnecting New Zealanders to the world yesterday.
She set out changes to the rollout of the vaccine, including speeding up the first dose by allowing people of all eligible ages to book by September 1.
She also said there would be a trial later this year of home isolation or shorter MIQ stays for selected travellers.
That would be followed by the phased resumption of quarantine-free travel in the future.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said opening the border was a double-edged sword.
"There's a part of all of us that wants to see free movement and everything return to pre-Covid levels. But there's also a part of us that's afraid of the consequences of mistakes."
Heard said so far New Zealand had benefitted from a combination of good luck and good management.
"We can't count on luck to get by. So we'll have to make sure the management is sound."
Heard said a staged reopening of borders seemed sensible but that effective home isolation would be a "hard ask".
"Overall, I think we need to proceed with caution."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said he had received various calls and messages from local businesses sharing frustrations about their ability to travel overseas for business.
"The global economy is waking up and there is a fear that New Zealand businesses may get left behind if we don't also have open borders," Cowley said.
"Business travellers could be caught out if their return to home access is suddenly restricted."
Cowley said the announcement lacked a target to incentivise the community to improve vaccination levels.
"All this announcement has shown businesses is that the Government is thinking about re-opening our border.
"Elimination was a good strategy in 2020. Perhaps NZ should have a more realistic adaptive strategy for 2022 and beyond.
"We eventually need to learn to live with Covid-19 if we want to re-start our tourism industry and allow Kiwis to travel freely ever again."
Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said the border reopening was a nice concept.
"I don't think it means much at the moment," Bullot said.
"It's a very dynamic environment we're in at the moment. One more variant could change everything.
"So it's a nice concept and it's good the Government is thinking that way but we'll wait and see what happens."
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said businesses appreciated the Government was giving clearer direction on the issue.
"The Delta variant and what it's done overseas has changed a lot of things over the past month. It's created a lot of uncertainty."
Tutt said it was "damn good" to see the Prime Minister make the announcement.
However, he said, vaccination was still the "most important thing".
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park owner Jared Adams had just watched the Prime Minister's announcement when he spoke to NZME.
Adams said his first reaction was, "Thank God".
"I'm glad there's at least one plan out there now."
However, Adams was not sure what to expect from the Government's plan in the long run.
"There are so many factors that contribute to making this work," Adams said.
"It's going to be interesting to see how they can make it happen."
Adams said he was concerned about the consequences for New Zealand if the Delta variant were to get into the country.
"If Delta gets in and we have to lockdown again it'd be a big mess."
Part of the Government's plan was to increase the gap between vaccine shots from three to six weeks, a move Ardern said would ensure more people had at least had one shot in case the Delta variant arrived.
"Getting vaccinated is the number one thing everyone can do to be protected against Covid-19, help accelerate our economic recovery, reduce the risk of lockdowns, and safely allow New Zealand's borders to begin re-opening next year," she said.
The plan would eventually see three "pathways of travel" into New Zealand.
For vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries, no isolation would be required.
For vaccinated travellers from medium-risk countries, some isolation would be required – but it could be a shorter stay in MIQ or home isolation.
A pilot will be run between October and December this year to trial that, and businesses and organisations which needed to send staff overseas could apply for that.
Unvaccinated travellers and all travellers from high-risk countries would still have to do 14 days in a MIQ facility.