There were queues outside barbers and boats lining up to get out on the water as Whanganui woke on Thursday to life under level 2.
Cafes and retailers opened and friends and family were reunited as people left their lockdown bubbles for a first taste of relative freedom after seven weeks in Covid-19 lockdown.
Boaties flock to sea It was busy on the ocean, with Whanganui Coastguard saying more than 80 boats had gone out in the morning, with boating allowed again.
A spokesperson said a lot of the boats had travelled over from Feilding and other parts of Manawatu.
A coffee and a catch up Tim Watson, Mud Ducks cafe manager, said they had been helping customers get used to the new rules.
"It's been a bit of a process just trying to see how everything is going to fit in and trying to get customers doing what they're supposed to be doing as well. You really have to direct people quite a lot," he said.
Mud Ducks has been open since day one of level three and Watson said they were seeing a similar flow of customers yesterday as in the past two weeks.
"It's about the same so far but now people have come in and sat down and had breakfast as opposed to having a scone type thing."
Mint Cafe owner Lez Kiriona said everything had been running smoothly.
He said they'd had a few customers in yesterday morning.
Queues to get that haircut Barber Town owner Matt Gilmore said he had a queue of about 20 people when he arrived at work to open up the shop.
By midday not much had changed and he still had queues.
Gilmore said they were operating on a one goes in, one goes out, system with walk-ins only.
He was asking people to be patience in the next few days and respect others who were waiting.
"We will probably be busy for the next few days at least," he said.
Ian Filo from Underground City Hair & Beauty said it had been a full-on day in the shop.
He is working separate hours from his other staff to maintain social distancing.
"I guess through Covid everyone seems to know the deal so all our clients seem a bit more patient, so with appointments they won't mind waiting because they know how full it is," he said.
Filo said the next three days would be busy in the service industry and then things might calm down a little.
"Today will be interesting, I will ... hear how all the clients have been during the lockdown."
The door would be locked to remind people of the one in, one out system and customers must wait outside or in a car.
Whanganui's Sam Stephens, who has been back at work since level 3, said he was looking forward to heading outdoors and seeing friends.
"But I think we should still be keeping a distance and, you know, being hygienic and just sticking to the rules," he said.
Chanelle Campbell, who spent the day at work at a local eatery, was looking forward to having freedom to be able to go places when she needed to.
"I can't wait for brunch with my pals and hanging with them and seeing them. It's been far too long."
Roofer Chris Campbell had been back at work since level 3 and was to spend the day the same way he had the last two weeks.
He was glad about "not being locked up inside and being able to go out and socialise with people, have a beer or two".