The Government is poised to announce new details about the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines and some likely refinement to its sequencing plans.
Cabinet is likely to be briefed today and announcements can be expected today or tomorrow.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said it had been difficult to give certainty about the sequencing of the rollout until there was certainty about their arrival.
"Now we have locked that down," he said.
The Government in December issued a broad outline of the sequencing in three groups - but debate has continued about whether the priorities were right and whether Māori and Pasifika groups and areas such as South Auckland should be identified as high priority.
As well, there are suggestions that one of the vaccines New Zealand has ordered, AstraZeneca, may be less effective for those aged over 65.
The top priority remains the 12,000 border workers, most of whom had the Pfizer vaccine by the end of last week and the effort will turn this week to vaccinating their families and household contacts, and frontline health and emergency staff.
The general population, including the elderly, were scheduled to have their vaccine roll-out begin from June.
But Ministry of Health director general Dr Ashley Bloomfield last month said it wanted vulnerable elderly in residential care to be given higher priority.
And there have been calls for Māori to be given priority but the Herald understands that the sequencing will relate specifically to health status, rather than ethnic groups.
That is different from Australia which has identified groups according to ethnicity.
Meanwhile, bubble-bursting Aucklanders fled their homes yesterday and headed to cafes, malls, parks and beaches to enjoy renewed freedom after a week of lockdown.
Their presence - on a largely sunny day - was welcome relief for many operators whose income was again hit by the city being plunged into alert level 3 and told to stay home after a community outbreak in South Auckland.
Yesterday's Ministry of Health announcement gave further reassurance with no new community cases and only one in managed isolation, a returnee from South Africa.
And while Aucklanders were enjoying alert level 2 freedom yesterday, the rest of the country returned to level 1, meaning an actual crowd turned out at Wellington's Sky Stadium to watch the Black Caps smash Australia to claim the T20 series, followed by the White Ferns playing England.
Spectators in Christchurch were also able to watch the Silver Ferns reclaim the Constellation Cup against Australia at Horncastle Arena, ahead of the Crusaders taking on the Hurricanes.
On Sunday, Auckland's retailers were kept busy managing crowds.
Shoppers at some Auckland's malls including Glenfield Mall reported huge queues and a temporary halt on chicken at the KFC due to a delivery of fresh chicken arriving late.
"I have just arrived it is a madhouse. Queues everywhere. Going home," one person posted on Facebook after attempting to go to Glenfield Mall.
"It's like Christmas season out there!! It's blimmen crazy," said another.
Kiwi Property spokesman Campbell Hodgetts said its two Auckland shopping centres - Lynn Mall and Sylvia Park - were busier than a usual Sunday.
Hodgetts said it was consistently busy across all areas of the malls, but level 2 restrictions meant they were still managing customer numbers in the food court and centres.
Three generations gathered to celebrate Isabella Oxley's fifth birthday at Mission Bay beach.
The family immediately started making plans, which included a treasure hunt in the sand to find wrapped candy, after learning the region would move to level 2 at 6am yesterday.
The change also means Isabella will have her first day at Te Hihi School in Karaka today.
Like the Oxley family, dozens of people returned to the beach yesterday as cyclists and joggers stretched their legs in orchestrated groups.
Many relieved parents pushed their kids in swings and watched them clamber up and down slides on reopened playgrounds.
Cafes along Ponsonby Rd were busy as cars snaked along the road looking for parking.
Orphan's Kitchen was "slammed" and used a waitlist to call people when tables became ready.
"We were expecting it. We were quite well prepared," duty manager Janelle Eilering said.
The restaurant had to limit the numbers of people who could sit on the shared tables to ensure they were well separated.
"Spirits were high. It is so good to see it so busy."
Good Group Hospitality director Russell Gray, whose eateries include Botswana Butchery, White and Wong's and Harbourside said it was great to see Aucklanders out in big numbers.
"I think it is testament to people wanting to get behind and support local businesses and help them through what has been a pretty tough and pretty long period of time."
He expected the rest of the week to continue to build, especially with America's Cup racing starting on Wednesday.
Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said while it was great to see people out, operators were still "hamstrung" by the current restrictions and could not operate at their full capacity when they really needed to.
White said the "frustrated" industry felt the Government was not balancing the economic impact of lockdowns and needed to reduce alert levels earlier when there were no new community Covid-19 cases.
Hospitality NZ's hotel and motel members in Auckland had zero occupancy last week and "a lag effect" was likely after the city moved alert levels. She hoped bookings would start trickling in from Monday.
It was too early for Paymark to know how much was spent at the tills yesterday. But figures released after the last move from level 3 to 2 showed an immediate increase.
Under alert level 2 cafes, restaurants and bars can open and have customers on their premises but they must be seated, separated at least 1 metre apart from other groups and only served by one person where practical.
Shoppers must also maintain the appropriate physical distancing of 2m when shopping in-store, which means stores including supermarkets have to limit the number of customers allowed in.