Residents of Northland and Auckland are "distraught" they won't be able to reunite with loved ones following the government announcement that the Auckland border will remain shut even when the Supercity moves to level 2.
Plans to reconnect with family and friends after a lengthy Auckland lockdown are in total disarray, with many desperate to see relatives who are dying or about to be born.
With the October school holidays starting today and Labour weekend fast approaching, the impact on the economy is also expected to be "significant", experts say.
When Auckland restrictions were lifted, Bay of Islands resident Eden Jensen wanted to travel to the Bay of Plenty to see her grandad who has terminal cancer.
While there, she and her children wanted to visit the grave of their father, who died earlier this year.
"He [granddad] could literally pass tomorrow or in a few weeks.
"I know how fast it can happen because I watched my children's daddy fight and lose his battle to cancer.
"I am absolutely distraught ... I do not want my travel to only become exempt for a death, I want to see my grandad alive."
On Thursday the government announced Auckland's borders would remain closed next week regardless of whether the city moves to alert level 2.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the removal of the boundary will not be up for consideration on Monday when Cabinet meets to discuss whether it is possible to move out of alert level 3 restrictions.
She said the government would "continue to assess the role of the boundary as we go" but gave no indication as to how long this could be.
Auckland resident Kyle Denning said he feels "let down" that he can't see his elderly father, who lives in Whangārei and was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Spending time with his teenage daughter, who lives in Kamo, during the school holidays is also out.
"We've done level 4 for five weeks and have been in level 3.
"Level 2 is another lockdown, and it's unreasonable to be so restrictive against families, especially my father who has nobody.
"I don't think it's right. It's taking a toll on all our mental health."
Denning has had his first vaccination and his dad is fully vaccinated.
"You'd think the government would give concessions for people who are vaccinated, considering we're doing our part to keep people safe."
There were 19 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, all in Auckland.
Okaihau resident Camella Nelson wants to get to the Waikato to support her daughter with the birth of her first moko.
She applied for an exemption on Friday and her daughter is being induced on Wednesday.
"If can't get there I will be absolutely gutted. I'll probably find flights to Tauranga as backup but if something happens I'll feel stranded without a car."
Hihi residents Janene and Murray Kay were due to pick up their new 8-week-old Jack Russell puppy from Pukekohe.
Though they are disappointed they can't get to Winnie, they are hopeful "it will happen soon enough".
A Kerikeri mum, who did not want to be named, said she was due to give birth "any day now".
Her parents from Hamilton planned to visit to help her with the newborn and her toddler.
Her parents applied for an exemption to travel straight through Auckland, which was supported by her doctor and midwife, but this was declined.
"So, I will likely birth alone with no birth partner."
Auckland's border closures mean travel for tourism purposes and other non-essentials is not allowed.
The Northland Mayoral Forum has been pushing for a safe travel corridor through Auckland, including for non-work-related purposes, for a year.
Chairman Jason Smith said the region's mayors were "still promoting the idea about how we can get safe travel for Northland to the rest of New Zealand".
"We are seeking information from the Government about what that interesting border could look like next week.
"We continue to advocate for Northland not to be cut off and forgotten.
"It's very frustrating. But we are in a health pandemic and the safety of the people is paramount."
Northland Inc chief executive Murray Reade said the indefinite border closure will have an impact on the economy.
"From a tourism perspective, a good portion comes from the domestic market which is Auckland.
"It will absolutely have an impact on our tourism industry. The school holidays will become compromised, and we're going into spring and summer which is important for us.
"Any lockdown in Auckland will have an impact on that."
Reade said he acknowledged the resilience of small businesses and encouraged them to seek support through government agencies if needed.
He urged all Northland residents to get vaccinated.
"The better our vaccination rates, the sooner we can approach some form of normality and the better position we will be to open up our economy."
Currently, 45 per cent of eligible New Zealanders have had the Pfizer vaccine, and 33 per cent have had one dose.
But there are still 22 per cent of Kiwis who are unvaccinated.
Ardern has said high vaccine rates were the key to lifting all restrictions.
The Northern Advocate contacted the Prime Minister's office for clarity around Northlanders travelling through Auckland but received no answer by deadline.
Northland tourism industry leader Jeroen Jongejans said the decision to keep Auckland's borders closed was "highly disappointing".
Businesses were now completely reliant on the domestic market, he said, and Auckland makes up 80 per cent of that for Northland.
"That's a big percentage nowadays on our income.
"With all the stress of Covid to our industry that adds another burden.
"It's another nail in the coffin for a number of businesses that are really suffering in Northland and around the country."
Jongejans, the owner and director of Dive! Tutukaka, said Northland became an "isolated island" each time Auckland was in lockdown.
There would be a "significant impact" on the region with lost business during the school holidays, and Labour weekend "looks shaky", he said.
"It's the local shops, accommodation providers, the cafes ... everybody who needs customers to make a living, they won't arrive, and it puts a lot of strain on businesses."