Coronavirus: Grant Robertson lays out what to expect the alert level 3 announcement will cover

See details from Jacinda Ardern's level 3 announcement here

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has laid out what Kiwis can expect to hear when the Prime Minister announces details of alert level 3 and 2 on Thursday afternoon.

At 1pm, Jacinda Ardern will provide insight into what New Zealand may look like after lockdown has been lifted. When that occurs, however, is still up-in-the-air, with a decision to be made on Monday.

The detail provided on Thursday will be more illuminating than the general information given under the alert level system framework, which, for example, says under level 3 "some non-essential businesses should close".

Speaking to Magic Talk's Peter Williams ahead of the announcement, the Finance Minister made it clear the information provided on Thursday will still be refined and it won't go through each business, saying whether they can open or not.

"There will be an ongoing conversation, I am sure, over the next few days as we refine the detail… the intention is to put out a principles-based set of advice and then as many examples as we can to help guide people on what it might mean for them, both in their daily lives and from the point of view of the operation of businesses," he said.

"It is pretty hard, when you think about it, there are 600,000 odd businesses in New Zealand, it is pretty hard to go through each one of them and say yes, no, yes no.

"We try to operate on a principles basis about what is safe economic activity under the levels, level 3 and level 2 as well, and then give people time to think about it and prepare for that, pending the decision about what we actually do do on Monday next week."

Robertson has previously hinted that a business's ability to reopen will depend on if they can implement measures to keep staff and clients safe.

"The core questions in there are particularly about physical distancing, social distancing... how can you make sure you can operate the business and minimise. to as little as you can. the interactions between people," the minister said

"How do you make sure people can access your goods and services without needing face to face direct contact? How can you make sure as a business you can trace everyone in your workplace."

"Those sort of fundamental questions about how you can as a business fulfill the health and safety guidance of us trying to manage COVID-19 will be the determining factors."

He said he's confident innovative businesses have been thinking over the last few weeks about how they could operate at different levels of the alert level framework.

With Thursday's announcement, the Government will be looking to avoid the widespread confusion created after the lockdown was first announced. Due to the quickly evolving nature of the pandemic at the time and with community transmission confirmed, officials only had days to lay out guidance about what businesses could and couldn't operate during the lockdown period. That list evolved over the first week, with some stores, like The Warehouse and the Mad Butcher, which expected to stay open, being told to close. 

The economic impact of the lockdown was laid bare on Tuesday when the Treasury forecast that if it lasted for six months - a scenario Robertson doesn't see happening - unemployment could hit 26 percent. If the Government introduced new financial support and the lockdown ended promptly, unemployment could stay below 10 percent and fall to 5 percent next year.

However, New Zealand downward trending daily numbers of COVID-19 have also been attributed by officials to the success of the lockdown. More data, including about the level of community transmission, if all segments of society have been proportionately tested and the origins of clusters, is still being collected to inform Monday's decision.