By Jordan Bond of RNZ
In just a matter of weeks, gathering limits, vaccine passes and most mandates could be consigned to history.
The Prime Minister has said the Government would ease these restrictions once the country was past the peak of Omicron, which has already occurred in Auckland.
And welcoming tourists may only be a few weeks away, with Jacinda Ardern expected this morning to announce a fast-track plan for re-opening the border.
So what will the country look like in a month or so's time, and how might restrictions change?
"Many of the features of the traffic light system I think can be safely removed," Otago University Professor of Public Health Michael Baker said.
"I don't think we need to have a vaccine pass requirement to be in most indoor environments."
Ninety-four per cent of eligible people 12 and over are double vaccinated. Nearly three-quarters are boosted. And many of the remaining six per cent of unvaccinated people will have been infected recently.
"At a certain point," Baker said, "we're going to have both a highly vaccinated population, and half the country may have been infected with the Omicron variant and therefore have a lot of what you call 'natural immunity' from that. The two together will mean we will be a highly immune population for a period."
Crowds are likely to be allowed for sports matches and concerts.
Greater immunity means big changes for mandates too.
"I think the mandates will come off large parts of society," Otago University law Professor Andrew Geddis said.
The health justification for employers to require an employee to be vaccinated may lose strength, Geddis said.
"As the threat of Covid falls away, and the really strong danger it poses starts to recede, we're likely to return to our usual way of approaching a public health issue which is: As an individual, it'd be really good if you'd get vaccinated, it'd be really good for society if you did, but we respect your decision not to."
House of Travel's Brent Thomas hoped there would soon be visitors from overseas.
"It'd be very exciting to get tourists back into New Zealand in a matter of weeks."
So possibly in a month's time, the country could have canned its vaccine pass requirements and most mandates, and have tourists wandering around town straight off the plane. It is a significant shift from how New Zealanders have learned to live over the past year.
It is now close to certain that cases in Auckland are past their peak: the three-day rolling average of daily cases in the Northern district health boards has halved over the past fortnight.
"Quite clearly in Auckland, the number of cases is now on the way down," director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield said on Tuesday.
Other parts of the country are behind but may not be very far at all from peaking.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was clear about Covid-19 policy on the other side of the apex, when she spoke on February 21.
"Coming out the other side of the peak will give us the chance to step down through the traffic light system, and ease things like gathering limits. It'll also enable us to move on from vaccine passes, and ease mandates in places where they are less likely to impact on vulnerable people."
Some mandates will continue, such as in healthcare.
"They will remain important in some areas though, for some time," Ardern said.
The Prime Minister did say the Government would wait for Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations to settle before restrictions eased.
"There can be no specific date given at this point, but what I can tell you is we'll be looking to ensure we are well beyond the peak and that the pressure on the health system is manageable."
As well as today's announcement on the border, the Government will in the next week decide what changes it will make to vaccine passes, mandates and the traffic light system.
But Covid-19 has made a fool out of even the most robust plans; cases are starting to trend up again in some countries which have already experienced an Omicron peak.
Baker said there was enough of a risk of future variants or even a new virus completely for us to keep all these tools in our back pocket in case they need to be re-introduced, and other less restrictive measures - such as mask-wearing - should continue indefinitely in certain situations.