COVID-19: Excitement brewing south of Auckland for move down to level 3

Everywhere south of Auckland is now on the countdown to a level change on Tuesday night with preparations already underway.

Excitement is brewing over the prospect of a takeaway coffee and about the further possibility of moving down to level 2.

Popular little Christchurch restaurant Gatherings is usually full of people eating off a menu each night. But come Wednesday, it'll be something entirely different.

"We're going to turn the place into a pizza joint and sling pizzas from an outdoor kitchen from the back of the restaurant," says Gatherings' Alex Davies.

Gatherings is one of thousands of hospitality businesses across the country thinking of new and innovative ways to operate under level 3.

"It's definitely a relief, the uncertainty was nervewracking especially when you can't earn anything," Davies says.

It's now three days till everywhere south of Auckland takes the slide down to level 3. Business owners in Invercargill are gearing up to satisfy lockdown cravings.

"Level 3 we can do click and collect scenario, so what we're going to have an emergency pie box for our cult followers," says James Owen, from Fat Bastard Pies.

"We can do takeaway coffees and food if people like but we'd prefer to be down another couple of levels," adds Invercargill cafe owner Judy McNeilly.

LeaderBrand provides produce around the country, and lockdown demand's been high.

"Salad's have gone pretty well, people have really been hooking into salad... and broccoli's been quite a star of this lockdown," LeaderBrand's Richard Burke says.

But broccoli may have to take a back seat under level 3.

"I wouldn't mind a bit of KFC," one person told Newshub.

A mass vaccination took place in New Plymouth on Saturday, where eople are patiently waiting for Pfizer, but not so patiently for level 2.

"Sooner we get to 2 the better so I can get my coffee and walk with my friends," one person told Newshub.

Gisborne is another town that's counting down the days.

"It's been a bit hard on local businesses and I'm looking forward to getting things back and getting some sort of normality," one person said.

It was a dreary day in Wellington on Saturday but a bright outlook ahead.

"Looking forward to the change, the certainty," another added.

And the coffee. The machines will be needing this rest ahead of what could be a very busy week come Wednesday.