Coronavirus: Smaller Auckland businesses relieved to reopen after alert level 3

Businesses in Auckland breathed a sigh of relief as they properly opened their doors to customers today. 

There were lines outside many banks and post offices, with one particular queue snaking around a corner.

But smaller businesses still feel uncertain and many of them are relying on regular customers to stay afloat.

For owner of cafe Autobahn in Bombay and Papakura Suzanne Braks, changing to takeaways-only while the city was in alert level 3 wasn't enough.

"Selling a donut and a coffee at the door - that's not how you look after 50 staff," she said.

She temporarily shut her Papakura store, and with Bombay on Auckland's border, the city's roadblocks made the second lockdown even harder.

"We had Tuakau and Pokeno. All of our regular customers couldn't get from there to here, and then everyone that was travelling couldn't get through."

But once Auckland moved to what's been called 'level 2.5', Brakes said the traffic and customers were finally flowing.

"I'm a bit anxious, but I'm happy."

It was also a tale of two lockdowns for T. Whites Bikes in central Auckland. Last lockdown's fitness craze saw sales actually increase and co-owner Gabrielle Stannard said they decided to open a second store in west Auckland. But this time, business was far from booming.

"It is nerve racking. We've got a new family, a mortgage to pay, but we do have faith that it's going to pick back up," she said.

With the doors to their new store opening on Wednesday, they'll need more people to start parting with their pennies.

The first full week Auckland spent at level 3 saw the city's retail spend drop by 44 percent compared to the same week last year.

North Shore's Takapuna was one of the hardest-hit areas, plummeting 85 percent.

Empty shops are already dotted along the main street, and a further lockdown could be devastating for many more.

"Look, we don't ever want to move into level 3. I think we'll lose even more businesses if we keep moving down. The worrying thing is what is the plan for the future," Takapuna Business Association CEO Terence Harpur said.

For Takapuna salon Morgan and Morgan, the plan is to grow the loyalty of their regulars.

"It's tough for everybody. We have a great community here though. Our clients are so unbelievably loyal," managing director Jennifer Morgan said.

Ensuring they can keep trimming hair and not their business.