Hawke's Bay's rugby boss says the move to alert level 1 will signal the start of an "overdue payday" for many in the region.
Sports, music and hospitality venues across the region are celebrating after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved New Zealand to alert level 1 on Tuesday, with Auckland due to move to alert level 2 on Wednesday night.
While social distancing in public is still encouraged, there are no restrictions on gatherings in alert level 1.
Organisers of events are, however, still encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.
Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Jay Campbell said the alert level move will mean more than just a packed house at McLean Park this weekend as the Magpies and Tuis take on Canterbury.
"Like every business and each part of society, we've been desperate for a return to level 1 to allow us to resume business as usual," he said.
"With a large crowd expected for Saturday, this should see cafes, restaurants, pubs and taxis enjoy a well-overdue payday."
Campbell added: "The interest in tickets and hospitality has been overwhelming and we can't wait to provide something for the people of Hawke's Bay to celebrate."
Hawke's Bay Netball general manager Tina Arlidge said the announcement is a timely one, after her team "worked tirelessly" to abide with alert level 2 rules.
Arlidge said her staff went the extra mile in recent weeks, including early morning starts, venue set-up, manning gates, cleaning, sanitising and dealing with any issues.
Meanwhile, Napier music venue The Cabana had to cancel five gigs in September alone due to alert level 2 restrictions.
Owner Roy Brown said four have been able to reschedule since the announcement.
"It will just be nice to not have to constantly count numbers inside and get back to business as usual," he added.
Toitoi – Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre manager Megan Peacock-Coyle said the venue can "breathe a huge sigh of relief" after the move to level 1.
Peacock-Coyle said the move means Toitoi can finally fulfil its kaupapa of offering something for everyone.
"We've created a comprehensive level 2 plan, so we can continue to safely bring audiences in and give locals amazing arts experiences, no matter what happens in the next few months," she said.
Toitoi is set to host a screening of local film This Town, Floyd Live, the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, Halloween horror tours and more in the coming weeks.
Napier City Council business and tourism manager Steve Gregory said venues across Napier, including the Municipal Theatre and Napier Conferences & Events Centre, did not stop taking bookings throughout alert level 2.
"Staff have been working hard with clients to accommodate any postponements or changes in plans," he said. "Everyone is prepared should alert levels change again."
A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said chapel gathering limits and burial numbers are now back to normal.
Council-run Learn to Swim lessons where instructors are required to be in the pool with students can also resume, while daily newspapers will also be reintroduced at Hastings libraries.