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Relief around New Zealand as country outside of Auckland moves to Alert Level 1

Businesses and event organisers outside Auckland will be breathing a sigh of relief tonight, moving to Alert Level 1 at midnight.

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Auckland will move down to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday with eased restrictions on gatherings. Source: 1 NEWS

That means no restrictions on crowds or group sizes, and no mandated social distancing.

Wellington café owner Ivan Kagadiy is one of those thrilled with the change.

"I'm very happy, very happy," he told 1 NEWS today.

He's spent today dusting off the extra seats, finally able to fill up again from tomorrow.

Level 1 rules mean no mandated social distancing or table service at bars, cafés and restaurants, meaning more customers and fewer staff.

Café owner Callum Rutherford is calling the change a "livesaver".

"After the first lockdown we were only a few grand away from complete bankruptcy for us and losing the café," he says.

There's relief too for event organisers.

The team behind the Homegrown Festival are cautiously optimistic about welcoming a 10,000 strong crowd to the Downtown Shakedown in December.

"It's good for Wellington city, it's good for retail and hospitality sectors which is awesome, I think people are really looking forward to that," festival organiser Andrew Tuck says.

Those in Christchurch are looking forward to a bit more freedom too.

"I think it's great for small businesses in Christchurch here, in the South Island, because obviously we've got no signs of [Covid-19] here at the moment," one person told 1 NEWS.

People planning a wedding outside of Auckland can add to the guest list, although wedding planners in Queenstown say the restrictions in our biggest city will still affect them.

"We're still not quite there with Auckland still being at Level 2, we've struggled a lot with people postponing and cancelling since March," Queenstown Wedding Association's Charlotte Winkel says.

Saturday's gripping Ranfurly Shield match was played in front of a painfully sparse Canterbury crowd; Taranaki Rugby is hoping for a much different picture for Sunday's Shield defence against Otago.

"If we get 4000-45000 people in there it will be a fantastic environment, the players will really lift to play in front of their friends and families," Taranaki Rugby chief executive Laurence Corlett says.

The All Blacks too are hanging out for the roar from the stands at next month's Bledisloe Test matches. 

"Far out, the last couple of weeks playing in front of almost next to no one has really hit home," Sam Cane says.

TJ Perenara adds: "People who love the game and supporting the game haven't been able to go and do that, so for us it's our opportunity to be able to give back to the fans."

After months of uncertainty, many are hoping Alert Level 1 is here to stay.