Rotorua business leaders are feeling a sense of déjà vu and anxiety with the city pushed back into level 2.
With tables separated, gates locked and the push for QR code sign usage at an all-time high, many are waiting with bated breath as further restrictions could be damaging for local businesses and schools.
It comes after Auckland was moved to alert level 3 and the rest of the country to alert level 2 after three community Covid-19 cases were discovered.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the three cases - a mother, father and daughter from Papatoetoe, South Auckland - have the more transmittable UK variant of the virus.
Hennessy's Irish Bar owner Reg Hennessy said he was "absolutely gutted" as the hospitality sector had worked so hard in "doing everything right".
"It's a defeating feeling. We stuck to the rules and now it's back."
He said if level 2 and 3 restrictions continued, hospitality providers in the city would "be in trouble", with some undoubtedly having to close their doors.
He said it had been Aucklanders who had been the main lifeblood in keeping them going with the absence of international visitors and the impact of further restrictions would be "huge".
Regardless of the booming summer holidays, he said the timing of when restrictions hit made "no difference" as "we still have to pay our rent".
His bar would be closed today but it would be "all hands on deck" behind the scenes, meeting with staff and getting safety measures ready to open doors again tomorrow, he said.
At level 2, people can leave home to go to work and school but are asked to keep a distance of 2m from others in public and 1m in places like workplaces.
Anyone who is unwell is asked to stay at home, and if they have cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms they should contact a doctor or Healthline about getting a virus test.
The owner of Urbano Bistro Cafe and Restaurant, Richard Sewell, said staff had jumped into action to get all the important precautions in place before opening their doors today.
"We can handle this. It's only three days but things will change if this continues for three weeks."
He said New Zealand was the "only place to be at the moment" and Kiwis had to do "our level best" to make sure the nation's progress did not take a big step backward.
"2020 was bad but 2021 could be even worse if we let it."
He said the support from locals had been amazing over the weekend and even this morning but they would expect a "dramatic" drop in revenue if Auckland remained in level 3.
Hospitality NZ Bay of Plenty manager Alan Sciascia says if alert level 2 is only in place until Wednesday, it will be easier for businesses to deal with the financial impact of the restrictions.
"There is no government financial assistance for any businesses unless restrictions are longer than seven days," Sciascia said.
"So even if it is extended until Sunday, businesses will need to somehow carry the costs, or lost income, from the move to level 2 or beyond.
"I think everyone is nervous as any move to level 3 or 4 would seriously impact business and associated employment."
Sciascia said any longer period or increase in Covid-19 restrictions would likely result in job losses and even closure for some businesses.
Redwoods Treewalk owner Bruce Thomasen said it was too soon to see any immediate impact but the main priority right now was to keep "visitors and the team safe".
He said he hoped it would be a small community transmission case that the nation could "get on top of quickly".
"We can get through this."
He said if there was one blessing, it was this did not happen over the summer holidays or over public holidays, when tourism businesses were receiving much-needed business.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the city had "been here before" and she was confident everyone would "play their part and do the right thing to minimise the impact".
"There is always some unease when alert levels go up but our community has responded well in the past and there is no need for panic.
"We now live with the knowledge that there could be an escalation of alert levels at any time so we should be ready at all times for that to happen."
She said people should connect with their whānau, neighbourhood and other support networks to check on and look out for our most vulnerable.
Interim chief executive of Destination Rotorua Andrew Wilson said safety was the "number one priority" right now but many local businesses would be worried about the economic impact if the increase in alert levels was extended.
"The effect of restricted travel and gatherings is not only felt by the tourism and hospitality sectors - those involved in major events and business events will also be waiting nervously for updates."
He hoped the quick response to the current situation would ensure a move back to level 1 nationwide as soon as possible.
The Rotorua Night Market was cancelled this week as a result of the new community transmission.
Although markets could trade under level 2 restrictions, a spokeswoman said "we are taking the cautious approach for the safety of our stallholders and community".
Kaitao Intermediate School principal Phil Palfrey said the school had slipped back into level 2 precautions this morning, with a newsletter going out to all parents advising them of the rules.
"We know what to do, we've been through this."
He said attendance had been good and they had refreshed pupils' memories about social distancing and keeping hands clean. The school gates were locked to ensure there was minimal movement in and out of the school grounds before and after school.
When asked his thoughts on the possibility of level 3 restrictions, he said "there was too much to do and learn".
There were plenty of school events and camps planned for the coming weeks and it would be devastating if those had to be cancelled as they were "vital" for the pupils' development, he said.
Although the south Auckland family had not been using the Covid Tracer app often, the Ministry of Health was able to identify 21 locations and times of interest. They are located from Auckland to New Plymouth and none are in the Bay of Plenty region.
Countdown Supermarkets' head of communications and community Kate Porter said teams had a busy night last night with shoppers, unfortunately, rushing into a number of stores across the country.
She said teams worked incredibly hard overnight to put physical distancing and safety measures in place, with all stores open and running normally.
"We don't have any issues to report at this stage but we'd encourage Kiwis not to stockpile - we've proven before that there's absolutely no need to, and that Countdown knows what we need to do to keep our team and customers safe, and make sure there's food on the table."
She said the biggest thing customers could do to help was to make sure they had downloaded the app and were scanning in.
"While we are seeing this happening a lot of the time, there is definitely room for improvement."
A Foodstuffs spokeswoman said supermarkets had swung into action and were working hard to provide New Zealand essential groceries. Supermarkets would remain open and the supply chain was robust.
Customers would begin to see various staff protection measures in place at their local store including staff wearing masks, perspex protective screens at checkout, and floor decals communicating the appropriate 2m physical distancing length.
Auckland will remain at level 3 and the rest of the country at level 2 for at least three days, with Cabinet reviewing the setting every 24 hours.
Another press conference with the latest information about the new cases will be held at 4pm today, with live coverage on the NZ Herald.