Auckland businesses are rejoicing that their city will be restriction-free this weekend after the city of sails was moved into alert level 1 yesterday.
The decision, announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, meant level 2 restrictions ended at midday yesterday.
That meant spectators were able to gather in larger groups to watch the America's Cup race yesterday afternoon.
But Ardern has come under fire from some businesses over the delay between Cabinet making the decision, and Ardern announcing what was happening.
And she was also forced to defend her fiancé, Clarke Gayford, who took to Twitter yesterday commenting on the process.
Although she thanked Aucklanders for their sacrifices over the past two weeks – while the city was at level 3 then 2 – Ardern said they need to "work hard to maintain the position we have all worked so hard for".
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was singing a similar tune.
He said Aucklanders need to temper celebrations with awareness of the rampant nature of the virus internationally.
He reiterated his calls for Aucklanders – with a particular focus on South Aucklanders – to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the return to level 1 would allow "our Auckland-based businesses to recoup some revenue after prolonged periods of restricted trading".
But she was upset that Cabinet had made the decision on Thursday night but it was not announced until just before midday yesterday.
Ardern defended that decision when talking to media during her press conference.
Cabinet, she said, had made a "preliminary decision" on Thursday night.
That means ministers decided that if yesterday's Covid-19 data wasn't bad news, Auckland would move out of level 2.
There were no new community cases yesterday and all the relevant testing information for the close contacts of the last community Covid-19 case has come back negative.
Because of this, Ardern moved Auckland into level 1.
But, this time the movement between levels was done in a way that was "a little unusual".
Instead of, as had been done in the past, a movement occurring at midnight, Auckland moved to level 1 at midday – just 25 minutes after the announcement was made.
"We're not waiting until midnight, because we've got those morning results."
Because Cabinet had met and made the in-principle decision the night before, the executive orders to move Auckland down to level 1 had already been drafted.
"So we've actually taken the opportunity to lift as soon as we can, now that we've got the results through," Ardern said.
Meanwhile, she was forced to defend Gayford's social media activity.
Former Wellington chef Martin Bosley shared his frustration on Twitter: "Feeling really sorry for all Auckland Hospo having to wait until 11.30am today to find out about moving levels. It's utterly ludicrous. Stay strong, my friends. Keep the faith."
This prompted a response from Gayford: "Martin an inprinciple [sic] decision was decided but its all pending on final test results today."
Ardern pushed back on any suggestion that Gayford had been forewarned of the alert level decision.
"He has not known the decision," she said, adding that this information was in the "the public domain".
Various ministers, including Grant Robertson, Chris Hipkins and Stuart Nash had been asked about the delay between the decision being made and it being announced.
But none of them specifically said Cabinet was considering making an "in-principle" decision.
"Cabinet is meeting tonight and the reason for that was to simply facilitate an announcement on Friday," Robertson said Thursday.
"When we make these decisions there are sometimes further pieces of work that are required – we didn't want there to be any delay on Friday so we are having the meeting this evening."
When asked why Cabinet was meeting on Thursday night, Ardern said: "In order for us to make any preparations for us to make an announcement tomorrow."
Senior minister David Parker did tell the AM Show, that an "in-principal decision" had been made, however those comments came after Gayford's tweet – which went live at 7.02am.