It's one of the Bay of Plenty's most iconic landmarks but for locals hoping to get back up the Mount, the wait may be a bit longer.

Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell says he is "pretty confident" Mauao will not be opened under alert level 3.

"I don't know what level 2's going to look like, but I think we need to be very sure that wherever there's any opportunity for mass gatherings, and as a consequence of those gatherings for contagion to break out into the community, I don't think we should be taking any risks whatsoever.

"I would say we need a green light from Government and Ministry of Health before we would open Mauao. And areas like that - swimming pools, playgrounds whatever. I think we need to be very cautious."


Powell said the Government's managed process away from level 4 was the right call.

"I think it strikes a really pragmatic balance. I think the prime minister has made it very clear that we're moving into 'the recovery room', as she calls it at some stage, but hopefully next week, but it won't be a rush to normality. It's going to be a staged and managed process which is exactly what is required.

"Those businesses that are naturally physically distanced because of their operations are those which should open. And I think the prime minister has recognised that and I really commend the Government for doing this.

"Roading contractors, infrastructure contractors, where they're naturally distanced because they're either in machines like rollers and diggers… they're not clustered together in any one job."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce's Matt Cowley says businesses able to operate safely in Level 3 should already be planning.

"There are a lot of things to prepare - supply chains need to have a reboot, there's a lot of marketing to advise your customers that you're open for business," Cowley said.

"The restrictions are quite tight, although it gives relief for some people, particularly the sole traders that were perhaps working on construction sites, they are now able to go and finish the jobs so they can get paid which is great.

"There's a number of eateries that will do okay because they are set up for takeaways," he said.


"However there's a number of high-street., high-end restaurants, particularly on the Strand that perhaps haven't had a takeaway offering before and they will need to pivot very quickly."

The majority of New Zealanders have done well at social distancing but the message is to keep distancing.

"Most people have locked down, most people have remained in their bubble and most people have stayed home and saved lives," Powell said.

"There have been some breaches, I'm really disappointed with those that had to be rescued off the Pāpāmoa Beach over the Easter break.

"One would hope there's some learning that's come from that because we need to remain as isolated as we can, even as workplaces come back online. So mass gatherings that could enable contagion to break out yet again… we must avoid that.

"The worst thing would be to go down to Level 3 and have to jump back to full Level 4 lockdown and that must be avoided at all costs."

With that in mind, following health and safety precautions will be paramount for businesses and contractors going back to work.

"The government has been working in a high trust environment since this Covid-19 response started," Cowley said.

"The biggest focus has been on whether businesses are doing their bit. That includes making sure they have appropriate PPE for staff, having appropriate cleaning and tracked tracing, and customer physical distancing.

"Everyone's on high alert. I'd say customers will be very vigilant and we've already seen a number of people dobbing other people in. Jacinda [Ardern] was very clear that she's not afraid to go back to level 4.

"Rolling lockdowns for the rest of the year would be catastrophic for the economy."

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