Whanganui has enjoyed "getting out of the house" during the first weekend back in alert level 2 following the Covid-19 lockdown.
After working all week, friends Stefanie Goodman and Kirsty Gunn were just happy to catch up in the sun together, without masks.
Goodman and Gunn have been working - with masks on - at Mint Cafe since Wednesday but on Sunday they were able to enjoy some hospitality for themselves as customers.
"I think it's awesome getting out of the house and feeling a little bit normal," Goodman said.
Gunn said cafe work was hot and wearing a mask made it hotter. Customers can have masks off while enjoying food and drink, but staff have to keep theirs on.
"Hopefully it doesn't last long," Goodman said.
"If [customers] are talking in your face, they need to wear their mask for safety."
Both women have children who are now back at school and pre-school.
"My kids really enjoyed lockdown because we were a little bit more relaxed and didn't do six hours of school," Goodman said.
Mint manager Shaila Hawkins was stationed by the door, ensuring no more than 50 customers were inside to comply with level 2 restrictions.
She said there was a good amount of trade last week and she liked seeing people back out enjoying themselves.
Limiting each table to interacting with one server took a bit of adjustment, but was working well.
"It's actually really nice. It gives people a little bit more of a restaurant feel.
"People have been really willing to chat and let us know how everything went and how lockdown was.
"We haven't seen a lot of our regulars for a while. It's been cool to catch up."
At Parnell's Cafe, customers had to be turned away on the first day of level 2, manager Aroha Mackintosh said. But, since then, business has been only a third of usual.
"I'm grateful for the support that's coming in, and I can understand why people are being more cautious [about the Covid variant]," Mackintosh said.
Cathy and Bryan Jacobsen were there for brunch. They have just moved to Whanganui from Ohakune, where both worked for Ruapehu District Council.
They have been holed up in a bubble of two and were glad to get out.
"We still have a whole lot of boxes in the garage. We set a little plan, to unpack two boxes a day."
Whanganui Regional Museum has had a very quiet week, visitor services staff members Junette Ward and Sue King said - about one-fifth of usual numbers.
The Whanganui River Markets help bring people in, but they are paused.
Museum experiences like drawing and dress-ups are out because they involve touching things and staff are doing extra cleaning of surfaces such as railings and handles. The church that usually has services in its lecture theatre is holding them online by Zoom.
Visitors have been the usual mix of local and out of towners and included people from Wellington, New Plymouth and Palmerston North.
Chip Rangi is from Oakura and he and his wife were on their way to Dannevirke to see a sick friend. They stopped in Whanganui for the night.
Rangi was looking for Taranaki artefacts in the museum's Māori Court, and his wife had always wanted to visit the museum.