After nearly four months, Aucklanders have emerged from lockdown as the country enters the new traffic light system.

Bars and some restaurants in Auckland opened their doors at midnight when New Zealand dropped alert levels and moved into the Covid-19 protection framework and gyms opened early today.

Auckland is in traffic light setting red with Northland, Taupo, Rotorua Lakes, Kawerau, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu districts. Everywhere else started the day in orange.

Vaccine passes come into play today and the Ministry of Health has been scrambling to manage the backlog of requests. It's been forced to grant an 11th hour exemption for 70,000 people having trouble getting one approved.

Business New Zealand is urging the government to give companies some leeway as they get to grips with the new system, and the need to check customers' vaccine passes.

 

Firms have only had details on how the system works since last week.

 

Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope says businesses have not been given enough time to prepare.

 

He says businesses have already been struggling, without the added pressure of penalties if they make mistakes.

Auckland gym-goers are looking forward to getting through the doors, with gyms able to open today for the first time in 16 weeks.

 

They can have up to 100 people at a time in the red setting if a vaccine pass is shown.

 

Les Mills head of operations Brett Sutton told First Up people who come to the gym and staff have really missed the hive of activity.

 

He says there was exceptional demand for online classes during the lockdown, which is something the gym plans to continue with.