Health authorities rely on social conformity in the community to help combat the potential spread of Covid-19, a behavioural scientist says.
Many are starting to question whether the positive case of a port worker last weekend is the start of a new cluster and another lockdown.
A pub has closed for two weeks, a gym has shut its doors and schools are alerting parents of links to new Covid-19 cases linked to the marine engineer.
At least two other people, thought to be colleagues of the engineer, have tested positive.
Health authorities and experts have again reminded Kiwis about the best measures against the virus at the 1pm daily update this week.
People should continue to use the Covid Tracer app, stay home if they're sick and get a test, and practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday pleaded for people to wear masks on public transport and planes.
At alert level 1, there is no requirement for people to wear masks on public transport or in places outside of their bubble, however, it is encouraged.
It was estimated only 30 to 40 per cent of Auckland Transport passengers are using face coverings at level 1, the Herald reported last week.
Reporters in the Herald newsroom also say most commuters on public transport have not been wearing masks at level 1.
Behavioral scientist Sarah Cowie, a senior lecturer of psychology at the University of Auckland, says it's easy to fall back into old habits when life returns to "normal" at the lowest alert level.
"The things that we're doing when we're in contact with large groups of people, those are often everyday things that we've been doing for a long time," she says.
"It's really easy to fall back into old habits, to forget to have a mask with you to put on.
"It's not so much that we are blatantly disregarding the opinion of experts, but it's very easy just to go back to what it was that we were doing."
People could be more likely to conform and wear their masks if the majority of others on public transport did too, Cowie says.
From an evolutionary perspective, humans like to be part of the group, not excluded, hence people might be nervous about being the odd one out and wearing one currently.
Bloomfield says people shouldn't feel embarrassed about wearing a mask, he still wears them: "Dust them back off when you travel over the next few days."
According to all the advice health authorities and experts have been saying since March, wearing a mask is a great way to protect yourself from the virus, Cowie says.
She thought the more people wore masks, the social norm of not usually wearing them on public transport could shift.
"Wearing a mask, even if it seems that you're breaking the social norm because no one else is, you're doing your bit," Cowie says.
"It only takes a few people to change social norms and to lead the way.
"If you get on a bus and you see two people wearing masks and you put one on, who knows what might follow."