As Aucklanders eye a move to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 on Wednesday evening, those impacted by Level 2.5 restrictions have cause for celebration, including the region’s local businesses and churches.
The Government announced today that Auckland would shift down a Covid-19 level from Wednesday at 11.59pm, while the rest of New Zealand would move to Level 1 from midnight tonight.
Under Level 2 the gathering size limit will be extended from 10, to 100, which is welcome news for Auckland's churches.
The Congregational Church of Samoa had its entire congregation tested for the virus, and now can't wait to reopen its doors.
“It means a lot to our community, we've been waiting for this for so long, our people are a little bit frustrated of not having the normality of coming to church,” says Reverend Victor Pouesi.
Level 2.5 has been particularly hard on Auckland’s central city and businesses that were already struggling.
Alan McDonald of the Employers and Manufacturers Association says there are a lot of businesses starting to feel the pain now.
“We've been getting some pretty stressful calls and distressed people to our advice lines,” says McDonald.
“People are worried about managing themselves and those stress lines in the workforce are starting to rise.”
The move down a level has also been cause for celebration for tourism operators, in the lead up to the school holidays - though there are also concerns people are too scared to visit the region.
Ann-Marie Johnson of Tourism Industry Aotearoa says there is still a level of precaution needed, but “there is no need to be concerned”.