The chief executive of Rotorua's Chamber of Commerce is "frustrated" after today's announcement that all of New Zealand would move to red if Omicron broke out.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would move to the strictest traffic light setting of the Covid-19 protection framework within 24-48 hours of the Omicron variant entering the community.
She also confirmed there won't be lockdowns when Omicron hits.
Ardern said the Government knew, from other countries, it could take as little as 14 days for cases to grow from hundreds to thousands.
The Ministry of Health said there was a possible case of Omicron in Palmerston North, believed to have been infectious from January 17.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said he was "frustrated".
"Everyone's done everything we've been asked to do and still we're asked to do more."
Although previous lockdowns and other restrictions were supported, Heard said there was "a price to pay" if strict restrictions continued.
He said the tightening of restrictions would be felt by businesses.
When Rotorua was among regions in red at the end of last year, he said he noticed people were cautious about entering the city. He was not sure how that would look with the whole country in red.
Rotorua president for the Restaurant Association of New Zealand president Sharon Wallace said people had been waiting with "bated breath" to see the impact of Omicron.
She expected it would be felt across the board, but said it was lucky the summer holidays were nearly over.
In red, businesses can remain open and domestic travel can continue. Mask-wearing and gathering restrictions will be in place.