Rotorua residents and businesses say the continued lockdown is tough but necessary.
New Zealand south of the Auckland border will move to alert level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the decision following a Cabinet meeting with health officials yesterday.
The additional time gives health experts a full 14-day cycle of data and information since the country went into lockdown last week.
Rotorua mum Sheila Manlunas said the decision was for the best.
Manlunas said she had many family members and friends overseas who had been in and out of hospital because of the Delta variant.
"It's crazy looking at Facebook right now. Almost everyone has the candle sign on their profile. You don't even want to ask what's wrong or how they died because you know it's Covid.
"We don't want to mess things up. Just a single error could cause an outbreak."
Manlunas said witnessing the impact of the variant overseas had affected her view of the Delta strain.
"I understand how terrible it is with business but the thing is if we open up straight away there's a huge risk."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said while it was good to see New Zealand appear to get on top of the outbreak, it was early days yet.
"I don't think moving from level 4 to level 3 is going to make a big difference for businesses," Heard said.
"Whilst that is a step in the right direction it is a very, very small one."
Heard said this latest lockdown had been "disastrous" for businesses.
"We needed it like a hole in the head but there probably weren't a lot of options given the situation with the low vaccination levels.
"I just urge everyone to follow the rules. Vaccinate and comply is about the only option we have if we want to get back to normal."
Hennessy's Irish Bar owner and Rotorua branch president of Hospitality NZ Reg Hennessy said the announcement did not mean an end of hard times for the hospitality industry.
"Unfortunately there will be a lot of businesses in Rotorua that won't be able to operate under level 3.
"It can be quite stressful and hard going at the moment especially for small business and hospitality businesses."
El Mexicano Zapata Express owner Eduardo Diaz said he was champing at the bit to get back to work.
"I was 100 per cent sure we were going to go to level 3. I really want to work. I love working."
Diaz said he hadn't spoken to other restaurant owners but believed they'd be in the same boat.
"Owners want money coming in," Diaz said.
"We have really high rents. A restaurant has about 40 things you constantly keep paying no matter if you're open or not. I want to pay the bills with the money I earn, not what's saved in the bank."
New Zealand Supreme Natural Foods marketing officer Eric Geng said they were more familiar with the alert levels this year but business had come to a stop during lockdown.
"We can't do anything. Even though we have some orders from online customers since we are not a pharmaceutical company or supermarket we cannot ship any product."
Geng said level 3 would allow for more of the company's general procedures to resume.
"At least we will be able to go back to the factory to do paperwork and we will be able to dispatch orders."
Te Arawa Covid Response Hub kaumātua Monty Morrison said the hub had thought a change to level 3 would be the likely scenario.
"From an iwi safety point of view this was not unexpected. So for us the work continues to keep everybody safe and to find those that are vulnerable and supporting them as best we can."
Morrison said the hub had received good feedback on the lockdown so far.
"Our people on the ground are finding people are a lot more relaxed because of the experience of last year. People have developed their own whanau networks to keep their bubble safe and keep in contact with one another."
Mental health advocate Michael Naera said there were two battles people should be mindful of in lockdown – one of loneliness for people living by themselves and another of wanting a break for those living in an overcrowded home.
"It's different for everyone but we need to acknowledge people are going to have a breakdown during lockdown. It's how we recover as a family that matters," the Te Mana Hauora o Te Arawa chairman said.
Naera said households doing activities together could make a big difference. This could include backyard games or cards "just doing things together, just to break things up a little".
"We just don't want people to get stuck."
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said the announcement was a "glimmer of hope".
"We're all anxious to get back to level 1 just as soon as possible.
"The best thing we can all do is to continue to follow the rules and guidelines that are there to protect us all so that we can move down alert levels quickly."
Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Latest developments
• New Zealand will stay in lockdown until 11.59pm on Tuesday before moving to alert level 3, except for Auckland and Northland which will remain at level 4;
• 70 new cases were announced yesterday;
• Of the new cases, 44 are Pacific peoples, 11 are Asian, six are European, six are Māori and the ethnicity of three is unknown
• The total number of cases in the community outbreak is 347. There are 333 in Auckland and 14 in Wellington;
• There are currently six epidemiologically linked subclusters identified within this outbreak. The largest is the Birkdale Social Network cluster with 45 cases and the Mangere church cluster with 146 cases. The remaining clusters have fewer than 20 people associated with them;
• There are 278 cases that have been epidemiologically linked to another case or sub-cluster;
• Nineteen of the current community cases are in a stable condition in hospital, one of whom is in ICU;
• On Thursday, 37,020 tests were processed across New Zealand
• On Thursday, 90,757 vaccines were administered, of these, 65,541 were first doses and 25,216 were second doses. This was the biggest daily total to date. More than 3.11 million doses have been administered to date, of which more than 1.1 million were second doses;
• As of 8am yesterday, 29,851 individual contacts had been identified and around 76 per cent of them have had a test, most others are not yet due a test.