By Jean Bell for RNZ
Along with the rest of the country, Auckland will move into the new traffic light system at the end of next week.
In the meantime, Auckland hairdressers and barbers are allowed to test-run the new vaccine pass system and open the doors from Thursday, November 25.
Hairdresser Simone Jones, who owns HeadStart Total Body in Glen Eden, was "shocked but happy" to be going back to work, but said there was a lot of work to be done ahead of reopening, including rebooking 13 weeks of appointments.
To take part in the trial, hairdressers and barbers must operate with vaccine passes, with all staff double dosed and wearing masks.
People must book ahead as walk-ins cannot be accepted and customers must sit a metre apart.
Jones expected it would all go smoothly.
"Most of us know our clients, so actual contact tracing and vaccine pass should go fairly smoothly. There shouldn't be too much fraudulent or unvaccinated people to get in."
But Max Whitehead from the lobby group Small Business Voice was more pessimistic about how the vaccine pass system will work when it goes nationwide on December 3.
"It's very difficult, particularly for small businesses. You imagine a small cafe run by a husband and wife team, both behind the counter. You can't stand at the door and police people and banish them from their business. It's going to cause a lot of angst and difficulty."
While businesses would be grateful to reopen while desperately clinging on to staff, he suspected some would turn a blind eye to government rules.
"But if the prime minister said unfortunately you're going to have to tell a couple of staff members or customers to go away, I don't think that's going to go down well with a lot of small businesses."
The verifier app that businesses can use to scan vaccine passes is being launched today.
The government will give out more information and advice about the traffic light system this week.