Coronavirus: Cabinet set to decide on next alert level move

The country will find out on Friday whether or not the Government will ease alert level restrictions next week.

Cabinet ministers are meeting today to review the country's alert levels, which are set to expire this Sunday.

Hospitality New Zealand Otago branch president Mark Scully, who operates the Speights Ale House, said level 2 had not been great for business.

"We have had a lot of people, particularly older people who have cancelled bookings just for the fact they are nervous we are in level 2, so it sort of affects your business in several different ways," he said.

He is holding out for good news this afternoon that the South Island can move to level 1.

"I think everyone's initial reaction is that it should be one, because we haven't had a community case here for so long," he said.

"I understand why there has been some caution but I think at this stage we should perhaps be getting to level 1 definitely."

Just one new case of COVID-19 was reported in the community on Thursday, which was linked to the Auckland cluster.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned that may not guarantee a lowering of alert levels.

"We have been at this level only for a very short period of time, we are still in this earlyish stage of seeing that impact on the cluster and so these are all things Cabinet will consider," she said.

ACT leader David Seymour said areas outside of Auckland should be at level 1 and Auckland should see some restrictions eased.

"It seems unfair to place restrictions on people so far away, where the risk is so remote and yet the costs are enormous," he said.

Auckland University professor Shaun Hendy, whose modelling has guided the Government's response, said it was too early to tell the true impact of the current alert level.

"It would wise to figure out how well the current settings have worked before we change them," he said.

Prof Hendy said it would be best to keep the whole country at level 2.

"The risks now are that Aucklanders are travelling again [out] of an outbreak in another part of the country and if we were at level 1 then that outbreak can grow very rapidly, whereas in level 2 there is a chance it won't take hold at all, or it will grow slowly so we will be better able to contain it."