"My heart sank and my immediate thought was that for thousands of businesses in Auckland, this is going to be destructive and confusing," says Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett.

"They're just in rebuild, they're low on reserves, they're low in confidence, and now they have to face this again," Barnett told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning, just hours before the city returns to level 3 lockdown until midnight Friday.

"The big thing, I think, is that if there is a plan, I'd like to see [the government] give us that plan, not just leak it out piecemeal. They've had four months to do this. I'd like them to give us the plan quickly, so businesses can respond quickly," Barnett said.

No-one he has spoken to believes the re-introduced lockdown will end on midday Friday, the CEO said.


"If the government is going to help us if it goes beyond three days, signal to us early."

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Even today, businesses were unsure of how to treat the following three days, the chief executive said.

"Are they sick days, holiday pay or are we just expected to just meet the cost?"

Barnett said that after four months, with some kind of resurgence expected, he hoped that there was a plan and that it would be communicated quickly.

"If the government is going to help us if it goes beyond three days, signal to us early," says Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett. Photo / File

He did not think going into lockdown again was an over-reaction, but he also had fears around future outbreaks, or even if the return to level 3 extends beyond Friday.

"If it goes beyond the three days, I think it's going to be devastating for the economy," Barnett said.

"Only 40 per cent of businesses were back to 100 per cent, and about 30 per cent of them were back to about 75 per cent [of pre-lockdown business levels]. So it's weak and fragile. What we need to do is communicate and make sure we have a good plan and that we manage it well. Otherwise, the cost to the economy and the community is going to be high."