Wairarapa is profiting from people choosing to stay closer to home during Covid-19, but to the detriment of Wellington City where spending has fallen by 10 per cent.
Spending has skyrocketed in South Wairarapa, up 22 per cent in the four weeks ending mid-September compared to the same time last year, MBIE figures show.
Masterton is up 8 per cent and Carterton is up 6 per cent.
Greytown's The Offering cafe has been paying an extra 90 hours a week in wages to keep up with the number of customers, as well as a table service offering under alert level 2.
Owner Bevan Morland said staffing levels are similar to that of summer months.
He put the increase in patronage down to local tourism and people in the area working from home.
People were also choosing to do some of their work in the cafe, he said.
"We'll have people that come in and work in the morning, then go home for lunch and come back in the afternoon for a couple of hours before we close.
"They're really good, as soon as we get busy they sort of disappear and say they'll be back later on. It's been quite nice having people in the café in those quieter times."
Morland said they were extremely lucky and he was well aware of businesses doing it tough from a national Facebook cafe chat group he's a member of.
The number of people in Wellington central is estimated to be down by 30 per cent during weekdays compared to pre-Covid levels, according to the commercial arm of Stats NZ- Data Ventures.
On Fridays that number is even lower.
WellingtonNZ marketing general manager Anna Calver said the city was facing the challenge of lower foot traffic as more people worked from home.
She said this was mainly due to social distancing rules in alert level 2.
"Not a lot of people can share a lift for example, so you just can't get thousands of people in and outside of some buildings, so lots of people work from home.
"What we're not seeing is the same level of spending in the CBD. So people going out in their lunch hour and getting some make-up, or buying their lunch, grabbing a book."
Instead, those people were spending their money at cafes closer to home, she said.
Calver said weekday hotel occupancy rates have also halved with less out of business travel.
In response, Wellington NZ has launched a Love Local campaign with a $75,000 budget to help boost central city businesses with the move to Covid-19 alert level 1.
The campaign will profile local businesses to remind people of the faces behind them and the products they have to offer.
Central Wellington cafes have previously reported a slow death under alert level 2 with office blocks limiting capacity for social distancing and more people working from home.
Frank's on The Terrace has been trading at about 60 per cent of what it was this time last year.
Machete Coffee co-owner Paul Day also reported people were quick to withdraw from the city.
"We basically saw a mass exodus of people out of the city as people decided to work from home ... even though it was only level 2, and that was a bit of a surprise."
The sprawl created by Wellington's red hot property market has also meant spending is directed away from the capital when people work from home.
In January, for example, Lower Hutt's social housing wait list jumped 42 per cent in just one month highlighting the pressure Wellington's satellite cities have come under.
Those who are most vulnerable have ended up being priced out as people look further afield from the capital to buy properties and secure rentals.