Wellington cafes say they are dying a slow death under Covid-19 alert level 2 as office blocks limit capacity and more people work from home.
Foot traffic in cafes plummeted overnight when the Prime Minister announced the country would be moving up alert levels due to what's now known as the Auckland cluster.
Hospitality businesses were starting to recover in level 1 but the move to level 2 has thrown them back to the brink of collapse.
Frank's on The Terrace experienced a 20 per cent drop in business overnight.
The cafe is now trading at about 60 per cent of what it was this time last year.
Over on Boulcott St, Machete Coffee co-owner Paul Day said people were quick to withdraw from the city.
"We basically saw a mass exodus of people out of the city as people decided to work from home ... even though it was only level 2, and that was a bit of a surprise."
He said business had dropped to half of what it was last month.
"We have cash reserves but cash reserves are not limitless, we still have fixed costs to cover.
"With the sorts of drops of revenue we're seeing, you do have to wonder how viable an ongoing business is."
Day said they were deeply committed to a health agenda but believed one based on livelihoods was just as important.
"We feel deeply for what Auckland is going through, but we don't think the rest of the country should be in alert level 2 like we are right now."
Wellington hospitality mogul Nick Mills said the move up alert levels was extremely disappointing.
"It's a painful slow death and there will be a lot of places that don't reopen.
"Even going into level 4 didn't feel as bad as this. It's Auckland, Auckland, Auckland, and the rest of the country, which is suffering just as badly, has not been thought of."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has always maintained a strong and rapid health response remains the best long-term economic response.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has also announced an extension to the wage subsidy scheme.
To be eligible, a business must have experienced, or projected to experience, a 40 per cent revenue drop across a 14-day period between August 12 and September 10 when compared to a similar period last year.
"The wage subsidy is available nationwide, given the nature of the current restrictions, Robertson said.
"This recognises the size of Auckland's economy and the connections between Auckland businesses and others around the country. It also recognises the impact the current restrictions are having on hospitality and tourism businesses around the country," Robertson said.
Both Frank's and Machete Cafe owners said trading was extremely volatile and knew more people were working from home after speaking with customers, many of whom are Government employees.
Some ministries are working at usual capacity with social distancing, others are continuing with existing flexible working arrangements, but some are encouraging staff to work from home.
For example, the Department of Internal Affairs said managers were working with employees on different start times to stagger building capacity, but were being encouraged to continue usual working arrangements where possible.
Up to 60 per cent of Wellington based staff are working from home.
Oranga Tamariki Deputy Chief Executive Matt Winter said if staff were able to carry out their role effectively and have an appropriate setup, they were encouraged to work from home to make physical distancing for those on site easier.
Public Service Association National Secretary Erin Polaczuk said flexible working arrangements were good not only for those employed under them, but also for the wider community.
"Insisting all public servants work from a CBD office risks overcrowded public transport, traffic congestion, parking shortages and increased environmental pollution. All workers deserve professional autonomy and employment relationships based on trust."
Polaczuk said given people were meant to be avoiding large crowds, a mixed model of working was a good idea and she hoped that would continue depending on workers' needs.
Government workers aren't the only ones staying at home.
ANZ's head office is based in Wellington and staff were told to work from home for the rest of the week after level 2 was announced.
Currently the bank will only allow up to 35 per cent of staff to be in its corporate buildings at any one time to maintain social distancing.
Similar weekly staff rotations were also reintroduced at Bell Gully with the move to level 2, where 50 per cent of staff work in the office and the other half remotely.