My concern with level 1 is so many people are now brow-beaten by fear.

They are so used to having regimented instruction on how to conduct their daily lives and businesses, that they may not be able to transition as fast as we need to.

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There are still, disturbingly, people who believe we are in some way, shape or form still at risk and that a second wave is just around the corner. They think we still need to stay in level 2 longer.

Most disturbing are the businesses who feel this way.

A café owner in Wellington said yesterday that serving more people and opening up for more business was desirable but she'd like to see us stay in level 2 another week. She fears another outbreak.

Why would she fear that, when even the Government doesn't?

But she's not alone.

Look at the mix of retail stores at the moment – they are all approaching this thing differently, depending on their attitude.

I was in a mall the other day – there was a stark contrast between shops. Some had you queued outside the door in large gaps, contact tracing books to sign in, and social distancing inside the store.

Others were operating as though it was business as usual - no contact tracing, no queues, just come on and in and shop normally.


I know who'll be making more money.

What's crazy is that despite both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield stating at the start of level 2 that retail stores did not need to contact trace, many still do. They're shooting themselves in the foot, completely unnecessarily.

And this is what fear does to people.

There are anxious, edgy people everywhere who're still freaking out about Covid-19, there are cafes strictly sticking to one server and plenty of space between tables, and others who've ignored that completely.

So come next week, when it's "business as usual" for real - when it's back to as much normal as we can get - the shops, the cafes, the restaurants will need to get with the programme and loosen the reins.

They will need to stop looking to the Government to tell them what to do and how to do it and to solve all their problems, to stop waiting for instruction or living in fear of the Covid-19 police – who aren't coming and aren't interested. The Black Lives Matter protest marches hammered that one home for us if we were ever in any doubt.

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Businesses who've complained about not being able to function, need to stop being scared, and actually now just function.

Throw open your doors, ditch the contact tracing books, chuck out the hand sanitiser and get on with it.

Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig
Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig

We are not in danger, we are not at risk, there is nothing to be scared of, the whole world is opening up again, we have one, singular person left in this country with coronavirus.

We have got to see this for what it now is - embrace the fact that it's over and get on with business.