WATCH: Owner of Auckland retail store 'Route 66' Todd Male has opened up about the difficulties that lock down have presented to both him personally and his staff over the last 12 weeks.
This comes as the announcement that Auckland will move to step two of level 3 as of Tuesday next week, with Waikato moving today.
This means that retailers can open their doors with restrictions, but leaves businesses such as hospitality still unable to have patrons dine-in (even in an outdoor setting).
"It hasn't been easy," Male told The AM Show on Tuesday. "The first six weeks was 'here we go again', but when it started to drag on it started to have an effect on me personally, I noticed an effect on some of the staff - just less engagement, wondering when this was going to end. Some tough conversations started happening with suppliers I couldn't pay… It's been a tough one, a real tough one."
AM Show host Ryan Bridge noted that Male seemed rather off and holding back emotion when talking about the difficulties he and his workers have faced this lockdown.
"On a personal level I've had some stuff going on which this lockdown has amplified, so I've had my own challenges," he responded.
"But I've just gotta get up every day and get going, and get that store back up and running. Hopefully Newmarket will get some support from locals, which I'm sure it will. Last time around there was some wonderful feedback from people just happy to see stores open again.
"I've had some wonderful conversations with people when they've rung up and ordered online, or I've met people for click and collect. No one's been in a hurry, everyone's shared their own whatever's going on.
"There's some beautiful human beings out there, so I've really taken a bit of heart from that. We'll get there - we'll just get the place tidied up and ready for next Wednesday morning."
Restaurant owner Krishna Botica also joined the show this morning stating that the hard times are still rolling in for her and many hospitality businesses alike, pointing out that even though people can have multiple bubbles in their back yard, there doesn't seem to be an exception yet for restaurants or bars that can serve people outside and safely.
Catch The AM Show every weekday from 6am on Magic Talk & THREE.