COVID-19: Thousands of Kiwis enjoy freedom of Delta alert level 2, but businesses hope level 1 is around the corner

More than three million New Zealanders are enjoying a little bit of freedom under Delta alert level 2, but it isn't the freedom we're used to.

Businesses outside of Auckland are adjusting to the tougher restrictions of the turbocharged version of level 2.

As the clock struck midnight in Wellington bars opened for the first time in three weeks but instead of hitting the d-floor, it's seated socialising only.

It's level 2, but not as we know it. Hospitality venues, even larger ones, are now limited to 50 customers inside at a one-metre distance.

At public facilities, like museums and gyms, there's no limit on people as long as they're distanced by two metres.

Under Delta level 2, if you're in a public facility it's now mandatory to scan in and wear a mask and if you're touching things like museum exhibitions then you should be hand sanitising regularly.

"We've set a cap of 734 people in the museum at any given time just to help people manage that space between their bubbles," Te Papa CEO Courtney Johnston said.

But not everyone's happy. 

"It's unfair that a museum, a sport centre and other venues can have an unlimited amount of people, with the same rules we are under - yet we are only allowed 50," restaurant, bar and club owner Jordan Mills told Newshub.

The 50 person limit applies to conferences as well.

Conference centre owner Paul Retimanu, from Manaaki Management, said many bookings have been cancelled as a result.

"And at 50, I don't feel confident they are all going to come straight back," he said.

Many businesses are now hoping alert level 1 is around the corner, as level 2 is more about the punters than the profit.

"We are worrying about businesses' survival, certainly worried about profitability, cash flow and all those things," Wellington Chamber of Commerce CEO Simon Arcus said.