Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced what alert level 2 will look like, when we get there, but what does it all mean for Rotorua businesses, schools and consumers? Reporter David Beck gets reaction from different areas of the community.
• Covid-19 coronavirus: What will life look like under alert level 2
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Malls, barbers, bars to open under alert level 2; travel around NZ allowed
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Rules around level 2 to be decided today
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Professional sports to return at alert level 2
Rotorua businesses are being urged to start working on their business plans as they prepare to reopen under alert level 2.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said business should also do a cashflow forecast and ''manage your business back carefully and think outside the square''.
His comments follow details of level 2 being revealed yesterday and welcomed by leaders and businesses spoken to by the Rotorua Daily Post .
Cabinet will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to move alert levels, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what level 2 life will look like.
Shops, barbers, bars, cafes and gyms can open under alert level 2 while domestic travel will open up and national rugby and netball seasons can start again.
But physical distancing measures would still need to be maintained, parties would still be banned, sports events will be crowdless, and higher risk elements might be phased in depending on public health advice.
Heard said local retailers and hospitality providers being able to open in level 2 was great news.
"I'm pretty happy with [the announcement]. They look as though they're looking to let us back into action as soon as they feel they safely can. The measures they're suggesting sound very sensible."
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Heard said the easing of domestic travel restrictions would be "very helpful".
"That will help get tourism at least a little bit of cash flow. It'll be paltry compared to what they're used to and it will be well below survival levels for most, I suspect, but at least it's a start.
"Overall, it seems a pretty well thought, thorough package, designed to give us as much flexibility as we can but still relying on and trusting us all to play the game correctly. That's the important thing, we urge our local people to do so.
"Businesses should now be doing a business plan, do a cash flow forecast, manage your business back carefully and think outside the square. We're a pretty innovative race us humans when we have to be."
Rotorua's Croucher Brewing Company and Brew Craft Beer Pub co-owner Paul Croucher said being able to deliver beverages to people's homes during lockdown had helped reduce the impact but he was looking forward to opening the doors to his pub again.
"I'm reasonably comfortable that these guidelines are about as safe as you can get. We're yet to talk to all the staff but we've had pretty good communication down the chain.
"One of the concerns is business just won't be the same so somewhere along the line, we're going to have to adjust. Quite what that means I don't know but volumes are going to be down."
Croucher said it would be interesting to see how consumer behaviour changed as a result of the lockdown.
"Whether or not people have gotten slightly more used to a more sedentary and slightly less consumptive lifestyle, I don't know."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the local economy needed to be up and running again as soon as possible.
"The opportunity for businesses and facilities to reopen and more activities to resume is good news. Businesses and organisations now need to determine what that will mean for them under level 2.
"I've been impressed with the innovation being shown by some of our local businesses and operators and there is optimism among some of our sector leaders. It's hard to predict how quickly domestic tourism will start picking up but I know many of our operators are raring to go again."
Chadwick said moving forward, collaboration would be key to Rotorua's recovery.
"Locals will play a vital role in getting businesses and operators going again and keeping our whānau and friends in jobs. It's also absolutely vital we all remain vigilant about social distancing, hygiene, and non-contact processes to ensure we can remain open for business."
The level 2 guidelines allow for the reopening of malls and food courts. There will be restrictions in place including the requirement to keep groups of attendees 1m apart. This might require limiting the number of people inside at one time and some venues may stay shut if they can't open safely.
Rotorua Central Mall general manager Peter Faulkner was confident the mall would be able to reopen and follow the guidelines.
"There's not really enough detail to say exactly how things will look when we open but that will evolve. We are looking to get as much detail as soon as we can so when the word 'go' is given we are operating in a safe manner.
"Anything contributes to the local economy so it will be a plus. From the perspective of the businesses [in the mall], it has been a long seven weeks and they are keen to get back doing what they do best which is serving the public."
The level 2 guidelines also allowed for exercise, sport and recreation activities, such as going to the gym, provided you could do them safely.
Crossfit Rotorua owner Munro Waerea said the ability to open the doors to the gym in level 2 meant a lot.
"We get to operate and get back to business. We get an opportunity to fix the financial damage caused by Covid-19 and hopefully resolve the stresses associated with that.
For our members specifically, going to CrossFit is an integral and important part of everyday life, a mental and physical outlet."
Waerea was confident his staff and members would be able to return to training while following the Government's guidelines.
"We went into lockdown practising new procedures so our facility is equipped to cater to the restrictions. We have plenty of space for social distancing and enough gear to offer each person a separate workout area, along with the necessary sanitation needs.
"We have a gym software with a lot of useful tools, such as a booking system to help us monitor traffic in and out of the facility so we know who is coming, when and how many. We normally cater to 17 people per class but we will reduce this to 10-14 for safety."
The level 2 guidelines allowed for early learning services, schools and tertiary education facilities to reopen.
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said this was great news.
"I'm delighted to hear the news, we're looking forward to fully opening the school and bringing students back - particularly Year 11, 12 and 13 students, who have been away for about six weeks and getting them back into NCEA.
"Having said that, I've been delighted that the vast majority of students have kept up with their learning and completed their assessments so I'm not anticipating that there's going to be a big mopping up exercise when the students come back."
He said the experience of going into lockdown helped the students build resilience and the remote learning skills they developed would help when they moved on to tertiary education.
"Many of them have picked up new hobbies, they've built better relationships with parents, so there have been positives but they have missed each other. Schools are a community, it's more than just teaching and learning, so they will be pleased to get back to, in a safe way, start mixing.
"I feel bad for the Year 13 students particularly, they've missed a lot in terms of leadership opportunities."
Life at alert level 2
Life at alert level 2 means we can resume many of our everyday activities — but we have to do so safely.
• All businesses can open if they can do it safely. This will help to get people back to work.
• We can go in-store at local businesses.
• Tertiary education facilities, schools and early learning centres will be open.
• We can travel between regions.
• We can safely connect and socialise with close friends and family.
• We can visit local restaurants, cafes and bars.
• We can return to our regular recreation activities.
• We can celebrate life's important moments with our loved ones such as weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries.
• Small religious gatherings and ceremonies can be held with public health measures in place.