Coronavirus: Auckland hairdressers 'stoked' to reopen this week to fully vaccinated customers

Auckland-based hairdressers say they're excited to finally open their doors again after more than three months.

On Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced hairdressers and barbers can open from Thursday as part of a vaccine pass trial.

Also announced is that all of New Zealand will move to the traffic light system from December 2 at 11:59pm.

Auckland and regions with under a 90 fully vaccinated rate will start in red, and regions over the 90 percent mark will move to orange. 

Steph Hosking, from Luxe and Duke Hairdressing in Auckland, is excited to reopen salon doors again.

"Oh stoked, absolutely stoked that we can finally get the doors open."

It will be the first real-world test for New Zealand's digital vaccine passes that were launched late last week.

"Hairdressers will need to operate with the vaccine passes, take bookings only, no walk-ins, ensure there isn't large congestion, and make sure staff are vaccinated," Ardern says.

Hosking says customers are already sending through their vaccine certificates in preparation for the reopening.

"A lot of them have already sent through proof of that status and I guess we'll get them to show us before they sit in the chair and we start cutting," she says.

But hospitality, gyms, events, and churches will have to hang in there because they aren't included in Thursday's vaccine certificate trial.

"Of all the sectors, hairdressers are at the lowest risk," Ardern says.

The others will have to wait until December 3 when the entire country moves to the new traffic light system.

"You've got certainty on the date, certainty on where we're moving, and certainty when we see everything reopen," Ardern says.

But which light you end up on will depend on how close each region is to the magic 90 percent vaccination mark.

"Two-hundred-thousand people are due for their second dose - please go out and get it," Ardern says.

For locked-down Aucklanders, the options are seemingly endless once restrictions are lifted.

"I'm keen not to do any dishes, so definitely the restaurants," one says.

"Going to a pool would be nice," another adds.

After being cooped up for 107 days, many in the city are itching for freedom.

"Pretty exciting but also a little nerve-wracking," one Aucklander says.

"Feels great to have progress," another says.

"It's great, it's right before my mum's birthday. I can't wait for some freedom," a third says.

As one of the highest-vaccinated and longest locked-down cities in the world, Aucklanders have certainly earned their upcoming freedom.