Delta outbreak: Northland residents moving between highs and lows in alert level 2

By Sam Olley for RNZ

Car parks are full, shops have queues, and social lives have been resurrected in Te Tai Tokerau, but lurching in and out of lockdown has taken its toll.

Sewing shop Bernina Northland made 30 sales in its first hour back open Wednesday morning.

Co-owner Tim Robinson was at the till, helping keen sewers, knitters and crafters restock their supplies of patterns, wool, fabrics, thread and elastic.

"I'm on top of the world at the moment," he said.

"I mean I always laugh in retail because I can never forecast the next hour, let alone the next month or the next year, so to me, every day that's a busy day is a great day."

He hoped the snap lockdown would be Te Tai Tokerau's last, but just three-quarters of people in the region have had the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, so the threat remained.

"We take each day as it comes, we'll just have to grit our teeth and nut our way through it."

Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Steve Smith said most employers lost sleep when yet another lockdown struck.

"People in the north are very stoic - don't show too much emotion - but I think their emotional glass if you like, the emotional limits have been reached for many people, and they're starting to feel the strain and the frustrations of what this has done to us as a community.

"With respect to their business, they've got a lot to worry about."

And he said the budgets of accommodation, hospitality, retail and tourism ventures relied on welcoming Aucklanders this summer.

"If they can't, that would pose, financially, some severe punishment on them."

Turkuaz Cafe manager Ayesha Perera Merennage said the kitchen had been quiet when customers were restricted to takeaways over lockdown, but it was a relief to open doors again.

"We never know how we are gonna change the levels, it's so hard for the business people, so I think we will be okay. After a few months, everything will be fine."

Meanwhile, the woman who prompted Te Tai Tokerau's sudden lockdown is nearing two weeks in a COVID-19 quarantine facility in Auckland, where she was transferred on the night of 7 October.

It has not been revealed if she and her travelling companion would be charged or taken into custody upon release.