Auckland business leaders hope the city gets a shot of confidence tomorrow with a potential move from the restrictive red traffic light pandemic response setting.
Ministers with Covid-19 portfolios will assess the rules, and a shift to the more relaxed orange mode for some or all regions could be announced.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff said a lot of people were hoping for a move to orange but it was important to ensure the health system and its workers were protected.
"We'd all hope that we can move to orange, in particular to assist with the holding of events and the number of people that can enjoy hospitality," Goff said.
"By the same token, I don't have access to all of the health advice the Government does."
The orange setting requires workers to wear masks at indoor events but does not have gathering limits.
Goff said ministers would make Wednesday's decision based on risk assessments.
The mayor said with recent declines in new Covid-19 case numbers, he hoped it was possible to change settings and take a step towards normality and economic recovery.
But he added: "I'm also very conscious of the fact that our hospital system and the doctors and nurses have been under real pressure and I certainly don't want to add to that pressure."
Business leaders said a move to orange would stimulate spending in the city.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said the red setting had taken a huge toll on downtown companies.
"People are really ready to go, and we've got to get things moving again. Businesses have done everything that's been asked of them."
Beck, a 2022 mayoral candidate, said of major concern was the tendency for city firms to have staff working from home during the red setting.
"That's 130,000-plus people who go home."
And she said lunch bars, physiotherapists, gyms and other businesses reliant on those city workers were stymied in the red setting.
Beck said foot traffic and revenue had been increasing slightly in recent weeks but the city needed a much bigger boost.
"A lot of people are quite excited about coming back."
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said the orange setting would make an especially big, positive difference to hospitality, events and accommodation.
It was crucial for these industries to get certainty, Barnett said.
And he said with the Easter weekend coming up, potential visitors to the city also wanted certainty.
"The logic is, we should be going into orange and I think 90 per cent of businesses would be saying that is where we should be."
Border restrictions will ease at 11.59pm. Australian citizens and permanent residents can travel to New Zealand and up to 5000 international students can start arriving.
It would be perverse for the Government to say New Zealand was open for business again if the country's economic powerhouse stayed stifled in the red setting, Barnett said.
Pressure on Auckland's health system was easing now after the Omicron surge, the Prime Minister said this afternoon.
Jacinda Ardern said a decline in new Covid-19 cases had resulted in lower hospitalisations.
She said moving Auckland into the orange setting was an option, but so were other scenarios and she was still waiting for the latest relevant public health advice.
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield this afternoon said there'd been a 20 per cent drop in Covid case rates since March 27.
Case numbers were now falling in virtually all district health board areas, he added.
But Bloomfield warned the pandemic had a "long tail" and if case numbers were to stay down, mask-wearing and booster shots had to keep being deployed.