Event organisers across the country have rejoiced at the move to level 2, despite it bringing fresh challenges for the sector.
Hawke's Bay Racing is hoping to still raise thousands of dollars for the Daffodil Day appeal despite the likelihood that one of its biggest days of the year will probably have no spectators from the public.
The annual Cancer Society fundraising event has been a feature of the three-day Hawke's Bay
Spring Racing Carnival for eight years, dating to an on-course collection in 2013.
The following year HBR and the society started a formal arrangement linking Daffodil Day directly to the race day, with all gate-takings going to the appeal.
The race had been traditionally held at the end of the Daffodil Day street-appeal week at the end of August, but, as was the case last year, has been postponed because of the Covid-19 alert levels.
Originally scheduled for this Saturday, the opening of the carnival will now be on September 18, with the second and third days planned for October 2 and 16.
The nationwide Daffodil Day street appeal, set to have been held on August 27, was called off because of lockdown, with the Cancer Society since appealing for other means of financial donations to help an appeal which attracts about $1 million nationwide each year.
Hawke's Bay Racing CEO Darin Balcombe says it has planned for the September 18 races, including the Group 1 racing Tarzino Trophy weight-for-age race over 1400 metres, to take place under level 2 conditions as the first day of the carnival did in 2020, when it was able to have four clusters of no more than 100 people each, comprising such groups as trainers, owners and other officials.
He said there were still fundraising opportunities, including TAB donations for winning performances in the Daffodil Day silks worn by one jockey in each race. In the past, some owners had made significant donations from stakes won on the day.
Hawke's Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said while he was grateful to be moving down alert levels it was still a "challenging environment" for many of the region's operators.
He said the drop to level 2 signalled the first steps towards a recovery for the region's visitor economy.
"Our hotels can open for business, while hospitality, retail and some tourism businesses can also operate within the Government regulations."
However, restrictions which apply to hospitality businesses, attractions and transport and tour companies mean they cannot necessarily operate at an ideal capacity, he said.
"Level 2 is also very difficult for our events industry and for business events and conferences.
"These sectors of the visitor economy are on tenterhooks, with many currently either unable to go ahead with events as planned or weighing up the risks as they plan for future events.
"It is a challenging environment for our visitor economy to work in, but we have worked through a recovery before and will be looking to do this again."
He pointed out efforts undertaken to promote upcoming events, such as the Summer F.A.W.C! festival.
"Auckland aside, the North Island makes up roughly 71 per cent of our region's visitor spend. So even without Auckland there is a significant market that we can speak to and encourage travel to Hawke's Bay."