Whangārei hospitality businesses are praising new mask rules under the red traffic light setting, following the Government announcement on Tuesday.
Masks must now be worn at all times at hospitality businesses, the only exception being when people are eating or drinking.
The standard of mask for workers who are mandated to be vaccinated has also tightened, they now must wear medical masks or N95 masks.
Customers can still wear cloth masks, but face coverings that are not fitted to the face are no longer permitted.
"That means no more scarfs, bandannas, or as some of us may have seen from time to time, T-shirts pulled up over the face, for example," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
In Whangārei Nook Espresso co-owner Brittany Cox said she was "fully on board" with the new rules, although her business had been following them already.
"We have been enforcing it since day one."
Cox thought the emphasis on quality masks was important, and said she tests her masks by making sure she can't blow out a flame while wearing it.
"There are comfortable medical grade masks out there that are easy to find."
Nook Espresso staff member Tegan Downs supported the Government's clarification of mask rules, saying they made him feel safer when serving customers.
"Absolutely, I'm so happy with what they are doing.
"I believe it's up to people and the community to work together and knock it [Covid] out," Downs said.
Split Bar owner Karl Marsland also said his restaurant had been encouraging customers to wear masks at all times, except when eating, already.
"We had those protocols in place in the first place."
Marsland supplies his staff with surgical masks and to customers who don't have them.
"We encourage customers to wear masks when they are moving around the restaurant."
Pure Bar and Grill owner Hareey Siingh thought that Northland's extensive time in the red level, compared to the rest of the country, meant the region had become used to restrictions and he was happy with stricter mask rules.
"I think it's good for everyone's health and safety. I think it's a good idea."
Siingh said all of his staff are vaccinated and they check vaccine passes, but it's good to have an extra level of protection against Omicron in the New Zealand community.
"With Omicron, they are saying it's not that harmful but very contagious. No one knows what is going to happen."
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said there weren't too many customers who weren't wearing proper masks and often those who did try to pull their T-shirt up over their face was because they had forgotten to take a mask with them.
However, he said there was a group of people who had self-identified themselves as being exempt from wearing masks and just didn't want to do it.
Speaking to RNZ, he urged people who didn't have masks to go out and get one.
"My message for them is Covid doesn't discriminate, you need to wear a mask or find some other way to do your shopping."said