One of Rotorua's biggest entertainment hubs has opened its doors in level 2 after being unable to trade for almost two months since lockdown.
The move has meant more than 40 staff from five independent businesses operating at Motion Entertainment Rotorua have been able to keep their jobs and even recruit more.
Opening in level 2 came as a relief to some but was also frightening for one business owner who had to take out a quarter-million-dollar loan in order to save his staff's jobs and keep the business afloat.
Motion Entertainment chairman Adam Baird said the locally owned indoor entertainment complex opened last Thursday in level 2.
Baird said the lockdown happened quickly and was a "whirlwind experience" watching with his staff while the Prime Minister announce the country was going into alert level 4.
"It was real, live and raw. The feeling was mostly shock," he said. "We have a whole lot of staff and that is a whole lot of livelihoods."
The complex collectively hired more than 40 staff and Baird said he was pleased to be able to retain all roles and was even recruiting for more staff.
In order to open in level 2, Baird said measures including check-in contact tracing at the front door, active capacity management, floor stickers indicating physical distancing, regular disinfectant of surfaces, using every second bowling lane, a 10-person cap on laser tag, hole spacing at mini-golf and one person per tramp had been applied.
Baird said staff had prepared for hundreds of customers but understood Motion Entertainment would not be the first place people popped their bubbles for.
"Overall we are desperate for more customers. But we are optimistic they will come back."
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Adrian Judd, who owned Strikezone, Timezone, Megazone, Darkride, Hologate and LaserTrap inside Motion Entertainment, said the lockdown had been "pretty stressful".
"For me, I am burning money each month. I have had to take out a quarter-million-dollar loan just to get through."
• Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
Born and bred in Rotorua, Judd said the lockdown felt like everything he had worked for his whole life had been taken away from him but he had done nothing wrong.
"We have had zero income since the day we closed."
Judd said it was a relief to be able to reopen in level 2 but also scary.
"I don't have anything else," said Judd, who said he had about 20 staff and their families to keep employed.
"It is going to affect 20 families if I close down," he said.
"The key for me now is not going bankrupt and to see it through ... But we are in it for the long haul and we are going to do whatever we can to stay open."
Chipmunks Playland & Cafe Rotorua owner Michelle Ellwood said it was a surreal feeling having to close the doors.
"We were all in shock. All of a sudden it was like what is happening to our lives."
Ellwood had about 20 children in Chipmunks' after-school care programme at the time lockdown was announced.
"I had to walk every single one of those children out the front door to their parents. That's what made it real for me."
Opening in level 2 was "great to be back" but because of the new rules, she described Chipmunks' cafe as now a five-star restaurant service.
"We are waiting on tables," she said. "And we clean the playground constantly."
The number of tables had also been reduced from 40 to about 17 to allow appropriate spacing.
Ellwood said while it would take time for the customers to come back she was confident they would return soon enough.
Xtreme Air Tramps and MiniCars owner Allison Lennon said having to close was heartbreaking and an "absolute shock" but she was glad to be back in level 2.
"We must have looked like we had won the lottery when we opened," she said.
"The turnover is still an unknown but at least we can open the doors. Up until Thursday, it was an unknown whether we were going to open again."
Lennon said the mini-cars were not operating because they had to use part of the track for safe access to the tramps.
"We are losing one of our income streams in order to comply but to ensure our customers are safe. We are doing everything we can."
Lumberjax Mini Golf owner James Astrop said it was nerve-racking not knowing how long they would be closed for but was pleased to be able to keep all his staff.
"Everyone has been quite excited to get back to work."