The familiar sound of early morning cafe goers, shoppers and office workers have returned to main streets across the Waikato as New Zealand enters its first day at alert level two after six weeks of residents being told to stay home.
Popular shopping centres such as The Base and Chartwell in Hamilton have re-opened while Hamilton's Victoria Street was a abuzz with life once again with a air of helpfulness around its retailers.
General Manager of Hamilton CBD Association, Vanessa Williams, said it was fantastic to see life across the city again.
"There is so much more life on the street which is great, I expect we will start to see more when office workers begin to trickle in from next week," Ms Williams said.
"You can see people, and the footpath signs are out along with cafe tables and chairs."
"Everyone is really upbeat and quite optimistic about being able to be open and seeing people."
Ms Williams said that people will notice some physical changes at some of their favourite cafes as tables and chairs have been moved to make sure there is physical distancing.
She said the most popular shops are beauty salons and hairdressers, with many booked out for the next week, including Chartwell barber Honar Perwaisy who re-opened his shop Fresh Barber Cuts with a safety first priority.
Mr Perwaisy spent much of his Wednesday morning picking up safety equipment and posters for his shop Fresh Barber Cuts.
While the moves to alert level two has allowed Mr Perwaisy to open up his barber shop again, he wants to remain cautious in his approach to protect both customers and staff.
"Now that we are open again it is sort of a 50-50 split.
"We want to get business rolling again but we also want to make sure our customers feel comfortable," Mr Perwaisy said.
"I've managed to pick up a load of safety masks that our staff will use, but I also have enough that we can also offer them to customers who may be concerned for their own health."
Mr Perwaisy said that his barbers will have their own individual vests that will be required to wash each day, while each customer's hair will be cut with a new blade.
"We were also using sanitising equipment before Covid-19 hit New Zealand so nothing will change there.
"We will leave the blades to be sanitised in between cuts."
The barber is also using sanitising spray to wipe down work stations while the seats were spaced apart correctly already.
Mr Perwaisy said that he will also only allow three or four people to drop in and wait at a time, to make sure there is at least a metre between those waiting on the bench.
"We thought it would be best to have people book rather than drop in so we were really focusing on that. We have also enabled paywave on our eftpos machine so people can do contactless payments."
"It's just about taking those extra safety steps to make sure both our staff and the clients feel safe. I've already been booked out for the next week so its good to see that our business will bounce back quite fast and it is just great to be able to work again."
He said the wage subsidy was able to cover his staff over the lockdown period, but it was a struggle to be doing nothing for six weeks.
"All I was really doing was playing on the PS4 while I just wanted to be back out working again so I am very happy to be back."
E-scooters will also return with micro-mobility providers coming together to create a safety protocol with the Ministry of Transport and WorkSafe. That plan is now under official review by the National Crisis Management Centre.
All of the operators have promised to sanitise regularly. But the best advice came from a representative for Lime who said "wear gloves. or, better, disposable gloves."