Whanganui hospitality businesses are coping under alert level 2 but there is considerable anxiety about future Covid-19 restrictions.
Under alert level 2 venues can have up to 50 people inside, staff have to wear masks and social distance by 1 metre.
Gracias Tex-Mex owner Graeme Townsend said working under Covid restrictions was "nerve-racking".
"It's sort of up and down.
"Of course, once we came out of lockdown into level 3 naturally everybody was missing their takeaways or their takeout food. It really picked up once we first opened up."
But in the past week sales had dropped off and last Sunday was one of the worst Townsend had seen in his two years at the business.
"Not sure what's going to happen," he said.
"At this stage we're okay but that can change as quickly as lockdown levels can change."
Townsend said government support such as the wage subsidy and the recently announced second Covid-19 resurgence support payment were a big help.
Gracias Tex-Mex was getting a rent reduction because of earthquake strengthening happening at the back of its building.
Townsend said once that was completed - delayed at the moment because builders were stuck in locked down Auckland - he was going to renovate the area into a cafe.
High-Kut bistro owner Kaiming "Kelvin" Huang said his business did not open in alert level 3 because it did not make a lot of takeaways.
"Most of our customers, it's best for them to come and dine in with us."
Huang said when level 2 started last week they got a good influx of customers but he expected that to die down.
He was concerned a lot of people used their pent-up demand for food out on takeaways at the big fast food operators that opened at alert level 3.
Momiji owner Bizen Miyake said his restaurant operated for just four days last week but had gone back to being open for six days this week.
He said he was anxious about the impact of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
"The last year it was Covid-19 and then after that the Whanganui economy, our business as well, recovered as usual.
"This year, I think it's a little bit hard because the virus is Delta and we have to take more care, like using masks, everything sanitised.
"Level 2 [this time] is a little bit hard to work in, but these are the rules."
The restaurant was booked out last Friday and Saturday because of the 50-person restriction, and Momiji had opened a delivery and takeaway service.
Many customers did not want to dine in and would prefer takeaway food, Miyake said.
"Hopefully level 1 is coming and it gets a bit easier to expand for our business as well."
Miyake said his business would struggle if the country fluctuated between alert levels.
"Definitely if that happens it's difficult not only for me - for all hospitality businesses.
"Going between is not good."
Blend Cafe and Japanese Kitchen WA owner Hee Taek Oh said Covid-19 restrictions made life difficult for his businesses.
"Some of the regular customers are still supporting us.
"I can still say it is really hard. No tourists from other cities. Only local customers supporting [us]."
He said before the lockdown his venues would get bigger groups of between six and 10 people whereas now it was much more likely those groups would comprise just two or three people.
Oh said his restaurants were facing nothing different to what other small business owners were at the moment and he was trying to stay positive.
"It's quite a hard time but I try to think positively because everyone who owns a small business like me is in the same situation.
"I can't complain. I try to keep positive."