Paul Sharp was back at work in his main street barber shop in Kaitaia on Thursday, and was busy enough to run the risk of developing occupational overuse syndrome.
"It's been nuts," he said.
He had his first booking three minutes after the Government announced on Monday last week that Covid-19 alert level 3 would be eased to level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday. When he arrived on Thursday morning, he found 19 people waiting.
First in the chair was local man Chippie Semenoff, who, like many others, was keen to rid himself of the "woolly" feel around his ears.
By 1.30pm Paul was still hoping for a pause long enough to grab some lunch.
(Kiwi) Keith Dawson was one of the early birds who had to wait until early afternoon for his turn in the chair, although he didn't give the impression that he actually needed a hair cut at all.
Paul, however, appeared to have survived the lockdown with some ease. He had reportedly used his first "real holiday" for some three decades to familiarise himself with the arts of brewing coffee and making toasted sandwiches, and mastering the television remote.
Late this year he will celebrate 50 years of cutting hair in Kaitaia, and the 49th anniversary of buying his business from Cal Beehre, who was known for charging one shilling (10 cents) for a short back and sides, compulsory in those days, and chucking in a packet of chewing gum.
"I don't give anyone chewing gum, but I do have lollipops," he said, somewhat rashly showing the Northland Age where they were hidden.
Meanwhile, at the other end of town, Hunting and Fishing was also having a good start to level 2.
"It's been good," owner Barry Judd said. "People have been very good at complying with the rules, and many have thanked us for going to the trouble of keeping them safe.
"We haven't had any objections, and a lot of people are obviously keen to get back out there after all these weeks of staying at home."
Clothing, fishing and hunting gear were all in strong demand. With the store officially able accommodate a maximum of 60 customers at any given time, there had been no need to make anyone wait at the door.