Whanganui is set to stay in the orange traffic light setting as the country prepares for a potential outbreak of the Omicron variant.
Northland, the only region that was still in red, joins the rest of the country in orange from midnight on Thursday.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said staying at orange made sense.
"It is the right thing. Omicron looks like a completely different beast. You just have to look at Australia and their case numbers to see that. Absolutely ridiculous."
McDouall said the personal responsibility tasks around scanning in, wearing masks and washing your hands were key if there was an Omicron outbreak.
He congratulated Whanganui people for all their efforts so far during the Covid-19 era and asked them to keep doing the small things.
"The vaccination rates are ever climbing. The businesses all have their procedures bang on and I think Whanganui is learning to live with these new protocols."
Te Ranga Tupua rapid response co-lead Elijah Pue said Omicron had the potential to "cause a lot of havoc" across the country.
He said staying at orange was good for the time being, but if Omicron was to spread through the community, a move to red would need to be immediate.
"Orange is relatively safe for us right now. Whanganui and the wider area have been lucky, only having a few cases.
"I just hope we don't get complacent."
From a Māori health provider point of view, Pue said they were "very well prepared" for what might eventuate.
He said he was a bit disappointed when Whanganui moved to orange at the end of 2021, as he would have liked to have seen a higher Māori vaccination rate.
According to figures from the Ministry of Health, 87 per cent of Māori over 12 years old in the Whanganui DHB's area are fully vaccinated.
The lowest rate of vaccinations in Māori is in the 19 to 34 age group, sitting at 80 per cent fully vaccinated.
"While they have slightly increased, I would have liked to have seen a bit more progress before any sort of move," Pue said.
Getting vaccinated and boosted was the best thing locals could do, he said.
Whanganui Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Glenda Brown said it was reassuring to know Whanganui was continuing in the orange setting for now, ensuring businesses could continue to operate with a level of freedom.
"There is no room for complacency however, and all businesses must be ready to switch to the red setting at short notice," Brown said.
"We urge businesses to develop a plan should a good number of staff be away sick, to ensure their businesses are able to operate.
"The Chamber is happy to help any members work through what might be needed for their business."