A devastated Rotorua economy is cautiously optimistic as some prepare to start some form of work again at level 3, while others fear entire industry collapses.
Cafes and the forestry sector are excited at the prospect of getting some work in but tourism and hospitality operators say the move to level 3 will make no difference to their "dire" situation.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand will move to level 3 of lockdown from 11.59pm next Monday - a public holiday because of Anzac Day.
Level 4 was originally scheduled to lift this Thursday, but instead, New Zealand will remain in lockdown until next Monday and move into alert level 3 for two weeks. Cabinet will then assess whether to move down another level.
The news was met with cautious optimism by Fat Dog Cafe owner Chris Powell who said it was a sign of moving in the right direction towards a sustainable domestic economy.
The business had been operating in Rotorua for 25 years and Powell said this was "the biggest challenge we have ever faced".
"We intend on being here for another 25 years," he said, which meant they needed to evolve quickly with the constant changes.
The time in lockdown was spent working on a smartphone click and collect app for coffee and food.
"Once we have coffee flowing into the Rotorua community again, we will be introducing our click and collect food offering and eventually a delivered option as well."
The cafe has also been reconfigured with multiple coffee machines working in separate areas, a zero contact collection window and spacing for any potential customers waiting.
Hospitality Association Bay of Plenty branch president and Hennessy's Irish Bar owner Reg Hennessy said "the whole situation is dire" and questioned whether the hospitality industry would survive.
"Of course it will help fast food joints and the odd Hospitality Business who make the decision to do home deliveries, but for the majority of us the reality of firing our businesses up for home deliveries is impractical."
He said the only way for the industry to get through this was for urgent "real and meaningful support" from the Government, particularly with rents.
"If we don't get this there will be absolute carnage within our industry that will not only affect businesses both small and large, but also commercial landlords across New Zealand.
Hennessy said the biggest challenge was maintaining the mental wellbeing of businesses during these times.
Rotorua Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said calling the current situation for tourism in Rotorua "dire" would be putting it lightly.
"This is crippling for the industry," he said.
"We just can't deliver experiences and we can't deliver revenue."
Level 3 meant there would still be no income but some conservation work and monitoring would be the only real change to the business which was still "working hard behind the scenes".
He said the domestic appeal Canopy Tours had provided was light at the end of the tunnel, but the business, which stopped operating to the public at level 2, knew they were in it "for the long haul".
Rotorua Association of Moteliers chairman Mike Gallagher feared for the possibility of moteliers going broke and losing their livelihood, saying level 3 would make no real difference to the accommodation industry.
"It's not looking good at all."
He said while there was still limited travel, they would have little business until Level 2 and 1.
"I can't see it coming right in a hurry."
Gallagher said it would be more beneficial to keep the country at level 4 for an extra week to stamp out the virus more to allow the country to move to level 2 or 1 quicker.
Timberlands sustainability and Covid incident manager Colin Maunder said it would take at least three weeks to get the company running the way it had been pre-lockdown as it was important to ensure safety measures for machinery and the virus were adhered to.
"It's great to have that certainty and a week to prepare."
Industries such as construction, forestry and manufacturing can get back to work at level 3 as long as they have those safe-practice measures in place.
"Like a game of sport ... you need to warm up."
"The positivity for the forestry industry for the people of Rotorua, a forestry town as much as anything, it's huge."
He said given what has happened to tourism it would be good to get one of the city's main industries in action for the community.
"We believe there will be quite an early demand for logs," he said, particularly hopeful for the future construction of shovel-ready projects the Government had announced.
But it would be a waiting game to see the demand for processed wood product exports, he said.
"We don't know how the world is going to demand wood ... [other countries] may want to support their own economy."
He said there would be a strong focus on safety around Covid throughout the supply chain.
He said staying in Level 4 would be "tough" for both the industry and the people working there.
"If they go to Level 3, people will loosen up and start doing Level 2 activities."
School will be open for students up to and including Year 10 for parents who can't keep their children at home.
Secondary students in Years 11-13 and tertiary students will mostly continue distance learning at home because children over 14 years old can legally be at home by themselves.
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said he, and several other Rotorua principals, wanted schools to remain shut until level 2.
He said although young people were anecdotally safer from the virus, there was concern for the staff who were more at risk.
Walsh said he had surveyed staff to see how many were health compromised or had someone in their bubble classed as at-risk.
"I'm wondering how many staff I'm going to actually have."
Walsh said each school knew their community best and "it ought not be a one-size fits all".
"If they don't think they're ready on the 29th for students to come to school for whatever circumstances, they should be able to keep their schools closed."
Walsh said a lot more detail was needed around questions and concerns for health and safety.
This included whether or not buses would run and how they would ensure appropriate distance was managed, the difficulty of keeping students separated and the constant cleaning of surfaces.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the impact of the pandemic on Rotorua's economy had been significant but it was encouraging to see the country move in the right direction.
The team was continuing to take calls on a daily basis from businesses seeking help with financial support, HR advice, or training and redeployment opportunities.
Other conversations were more focused on planning for the future and seeking support to adapt to the changing environment.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said while the local economy had been "devastated" and there was a need for businesses to be able to operate as soon as possible, saving the economy needed to be balanced with saving lives.
Chadwick said the announcement provided certainty for some sectors that will be able to operate again, but reinforced the need to continue to live "cautiously and mindfully" so we don't lose the gains that have been made.