Kiwis wanting to visit loved ones in aged care facilities are being asked to be patient as the industry unveils its "new normal" due to Covid-19.
Many Aucklanders are fresh out of level 3 restrictions and keen to see family but were now being confronted with stricter control measures due to the vulnerability of those at facilities.
However, while most care hospitals remain closed, residents living in retirement villages were able to live a more free lifestyle.
In announcing Auckland's level 2.5 on Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Kiwis not just to "pop into an aged care facility" from Monday, no matter where they were in the country and warned of "very strict settings".
Simon Wallace, Aged Care Association chief executive, said there was now a "new normal" for Kiwis visiting rest home facilities, and long gone were the days of just turning up and expecting to see a loved one.
"The new normal for visiting a rest home is that from now on those visits will be tightly managed and by that, that means family making an appointment time with the rest home to see their loved one," Wallace said.
"It means a limitation on the number of visitors, a very small bubble of perhaps one or two at a time, keeping them short, for example 30 minutes."
All other infection, prevention and control measures - including compulsory masks and hand sanitiser use - would be an "absolutely necessity".
"The rest homes will make their own decisions around what particular processes they put in place for visitors but our advice is in line with the Ministry of Health that as far as visitors go, they should facilitate visits but they will be tightly controlled.
"That is now no different to the rest of the country.
"I don't think we're in a situation where we were before covid where you could just rock up to a rest home and expect to walk in and see your mother or father.
"We've seen enough of what's happened overseas, particularly in Melbourne, to realise the risks and vulnerability of our older people and that's why things are different now."
Wallace said there had been strong demand from family members to see loved ones and asked people to be patient as they would unlikely be able to see them straight away.
Oceania Healthcare chief executive Earl Gasparich said they operated a booking system for families and depending on the size of the site would only allow between one or three people at a time.
He said they shut their doors when new clusters are revealed or alert levels are raised, then it was a matter of keeping an eye on where the risks were.
"When this second wave came in Auckland everybody shut their doors immediately throughout the country until we got a grip on where were the pockets of risk," Gasparich said.
Having a site in Tokoroa - where a mini cluster developed recently - they immediately shut its doors, but kept a close eye on it to see if case numbers dropped off.
"Last week out of Auckland we had sites that could take visitors, but those visitors were being temperature checked, signing declarations, were being accompanied to their loved one's rooms for half an hour maximum, they were wearing face masks and using hand sanitiser, so it's a very controlled process."
He said aged care homes had shown they could now deal with the risk themselves and had liaised with the Ministry of Health before Sunday's level 2.5 announcement.
"You can't lock the doors and keep them locked up even though that would be the safest, so it's a matter of just balancing their wellbeing."
Oceania had since got all of its staff in South Auckland and Mt Albert tested, after another mini cluster popped up in Mt Roskill.
"The risk really is that it's not so much what the residents are doing it's more the staff who are out in the community and may unfortunately be connected in some way and unbecomingly are coming in to the site.
"It's all about risk management, you've got heightened risk and severe consequences obviously and the last thing anybody wants is an outbreak but again, I think the industry has proven it's pretty well prepared to deal with it if it did."
Eleanor Young, general manager of operations at Summerset, said they hadn't been inundated with requests but mainly because they had informed families early on that their care centres, which each housed between 40 and 50 residents, would stay closed.
"We've been clear from the outset that the care centres would remain closed for at least another week in Auckland, and why this decision was made," Young aid.
That was due to community transmission cases still popping up in Auckland and the care residents were their most vulnerable.
"This is an extra precaution and has been well accepted by our residents, their families and friends."
However, visitors were welcome into their Auckland retirement villages. They lived independently and were where the majority of their residents lived.
"Naturally, we are asking these visitors visit in small groups, to wear face masks, and to use physical distancing measures."
Aucklanders wishing to visit residents at their sites around the country were asked to wait two weeks as a precaution, she said.
Carolyn Cooper, Managing Director of Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand, said its
Auckland care homes and rehabilitation sites would remain closed to external visitors under Level 2.5, as they were Level 3.
The only exceptions were on compassionate grounds or at the discretion of the care home manager.
However, its Auckland retirement villages were independent living and would follow the Ministry's Level 2.5 guidelines.
She said their sites did open on Monday with Level 2 restrictions after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday spoke about "stricter guidelines" for aged care but no specifics.
They then "reassessed the situation" that day and reinstated its Level 3 restrictions on Monday afternoon where they will stay "until further notice".
Ryman Healthcare declined to comment.