Coronavirus: Waikato businesses prepare to welcome back patrons as region awaits imminent level 2 move

Some Waikato beauty therapy and hospitality businesses are anxious as they prepare to welcome back patrons under level 2.

Waikato moves to level 2 at 11:59pm Tuesday after more than six weeks in level 3.

Wedding celebrants and photographers say while most couples have postponed due to the ongoing uncertainty, Hamilton bride Natalie Mackinnon and fiance Mark can now tie the knot on Friday and revert to their original guestlist of 70.

"We always had the fingers crossed for level 2 but didn't think it was going to happen," says Mackinnon.

Under level 2, the couple's New Plymouth bridesmaid will also be allowed into Waikato. 

"Such excitement, to be able to say to everyone you're definitely on the list and bring your dancing shoes, it's going to be a great night."

Bars, restaurants and cafes are finishing up last-minute food orders, preparing to welcome sit-down patrons again finally under level 2. 

Two Birds Eatery barista Annika Warring says: "I'm so excited to see everyone again tomorrow."

The phone hasn't stopped at hairdressers and beauticians across the region. 

Jingles Hair Design owner Ann-Marie Young says people are desperate, some have gone without a colour for 12 weeks as they were due before lockdown. 

"Even men. They want it now! We will try our best to fit them all in, that's why we will be working seven days seven nights."

The business will require all patrons to wear masks while in the chair, and only vaccinated customers will be allowed in, says Young. 

"I just want to keep my clients safe and my staff safe, I am really anxious and I am not sure why. Once we get back into it I think we will be okay, but yeah it's nerve-wracking."

There were 20 new cases confirmed in Waikato overnight, with nine from Ōtorohanga, seven from Hamilton, one from Te Awamutu, one from Te Kuiti, and two awaiting confirmation. 

Public health staff are now supporting 338 people to isolate at home, including 92 positive cases and 246 contacts. 

Movie theatres in the region like Cambridge's boutique Tivoli Cinema aren't taking chances, 

sanitising up a storm and preparing to space guests who can't wait to get back. 

Owner Karen Focas says: "It's fantastic, it's good fun because you're going to be able to start making money and people can start enjoying their lives again."

However public health officials are warning against complacency.