As New Zealand transitioned to level 2 late on Wednesday night, many Kiwis lined up outside barbershops in Auckland for their first cut in weeks.
Alert level 2 allows Kiwis greater freedom to leave their homes and return to small gatherings. It also enables many businesses to reopen after being closed since the lockdown began near the end of March. Among them are hairdressers and beauticians, who are encouraged to wear personal protective equipment when interacting with customers.
At midnight and into the early hours of Thursday morning, several barbershops opened around Auckland for those needing a cut. Around 20 people queued up outside BarberShopCo in the suburb of Birkenhead.
"Just keen to get a haircut. It's been so long," said Brendon.
"New level, new haircut. [I'm] just getting it ready for next week."
Another said he hadn't had a cut since January and wanted to be part of the midnight action. Asked if he couldn't wait for the morning, Naz said: "Nah, nah, absolutely not."
"Gotta be a trendsetter," said Will.
Patrons expected the haircuts to be "fabulous" and "life-changing".
Staff inside, donning masks and limiting contact with patrons, said it was good to have the store doors open again - even in the middle of the night.
"Really nice for things to be back to normal… also nice to see all the colleagues back," said one of the barbers.
Under alert level 2, businesses that require close personal contact with customers can operate if they keep a register of people who have been on their premises - handy if contact tracing is needed - have customers at least one metre apart, practice good hygiene and disinfect surfaces between customers.