Bay of Plenty business leaders say moving back to alert level 2 again was a "devastating blow" that will hit hospitality and tourism sectors the hardest.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who announced the alert level changes last night which came into effect at 6 am today, said they would be in place for up to seven days.
She said Auckland moving back to alert level 3 was necessary because many people will have visited the same places as the two newly discovered community cases.
Arden said the two cases could not be directly linked to earlier cases, and one of the
patients may have been infectious as far back as Sunday last week, she said.
The rest of the country is now subject to alert level two restrictions again.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said by and large our local economy may not experience a noticeable impact if in alert level 2 only for a few days.
"But businesses that will be most impacted are those reliant on domestic tourists. The city may also be impacted by the supply chain constraints as non-essential works in Auckland stay away from work," he said.
"We do need a strong carrot and stick to ensure people do the right thing. This is not a fight against Covid-19, it's a war and there is no time for complacency.
"The logic of getting a test and then going to the gym needs to be made an example of, as the economic impact of those decisions will cost our economy millions of dollars."
Cowley said there needed to be strong consequences for those who did not follow the Covid-19 restrictions rules and the Ministry of Health's advice.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce CEO Bryce Heard agreed.
Heard it was a "massive blow" and "pretty soul-destroying" for business owners already struggling to keep their businesses afloat.
"Business owners cannot afford to keep living like this, and I don't know what the answer is. But it's inevitable that some businesses will close if this goes on for much longer."
"It's really worrying that we could be going in and out of alert level 2 or even level 3 for the foreseeable future as we cannot afford to have more people losing their jobs."
Heard said it was "very frustrating" particularly given reports that some of those who have tested positive had gone to the gym or their place of work when they felt unwell.
"It is pleasing to see more people used the Covid-19 tracer app but everybody needs to do the right thing as the last thing we need is a community outbreak in our region."
Heard said while the Covid-19 vaccine programme was being rolled out across the country that was still some months away for the general population.
In a written statement, Restaurant Association of NZ CEO Marisa Bidois said returning to alert levels 2 and 3 was a "major blow" for businesses struggling to survive.
"This is another major blow for our industry who are already struggling to recover from the compounded impact of changes to alert levels and border closures.
"With borders closed, our revenues continue to suffer and these changes in alert levels are incredibly difficult to manage," Bidois said.
"Whilst it's good to see that the wage subsidy has been confirmed this time, we cannot stress enough the urgent need for the government to respond with a tailored financial package for our industry."
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White said it was "devastating news" which would hit hospitality businesses "very hard" by the second lockdown in a month
"As the week goes on, all hospitality businesses will be hit hard...and the impact will ripple throughout New Zealand.
"The only saving grace for some is the wage subsidy and the business resurgence fund, however, for others, these support packages will barely scratch the surface when it comes to covering the immediate losses and cancellations to come," White said.
Level 2 rules:
• No more than 100 people at social gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.
• Businesses can open, but they legally must follow public health rules. These include physical distancing and record keeping.
• Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.
• Talk with your staff to identify risks and ways to manage them.
• Ask everyone — workers, contractors and customers — with cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms to stay away from your premises.
• Keep workers 1 metre apart and customers in retail businesses 2 metres apart.
• Businesses are legally required to display a QR code and provide an alternative contact tracing system.
• Face coverings are strongly encouraged if you are in close contact with others.
• Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them. Wash your hands.