Coronavirus: Shop workers excited to reopen when NZ's alert level decreases

Shop workers are relieved they will be able to reopen when New Zealand moves to alert level 2, but they are hoping it will happen soon with sales significantly down during lockdown.

While the decision to move down a level won't be made until next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined what level 2 will look like at her daily press conference on Thursday. 

While shoppers will be allowed to try on clothes again, the retail experience is expected to change with new social distancing protocols and regular cleaning.

Superette Brand Manager Brianna Kirkham says she's happy their stores will be able to get back up and running.

"It makes a huge difference, we cannot wait!" Kirkham told Newshub.

"Obviously we'll make sure we have stations where people can sanitise their hands in store at different points and the changing rooms we'll be taking every second one out so that we're using that physical distancing."

The announcement was also exciting for DIY hairdressers as salons and beauticians will be back in business to fix any lockdown disasters.

Employees will be required to wear PPE for protection because Ardern says it is "virtually impossible" to do their job without being in close proximity to customers.

Ramesh Singh from Kees Hair & Beauty says being able to reopen, despite the rules, is a step in the right direction.

 "It's a little better than what I expected, it is workable...

"I can't wait to get back to normal, but I suppose this is going to be our new normal now."

However, the new restrictions will be harder for bigger stores such as hardware shops and malls.

They will have to operate similarly to supermarkets and may have to stagger customer entry.

Retail NZ's Greg Hartford says it's a huge relief for retailers to be preparing for the opening.

Even with click and collect and online shopping, sales have been down 80 percent across the sector for the last week.

"There's been very little practical difference between level 4 and 3 for retail, sales have totally collapsed across the board and it's really important that we get shops open again," Hartford says.

But for now, stores are waiting for an announcement on how soon they can open their doors.