In Auckland's city centre one barista described "chaos" in his cafe, workers were seen with computer monitors tucked under their arms as they prepared to work from home, another wheeled an office chair down the street, and there were long waits in traffic as many tried to leave the CBD before midday.
Eden Espresso owner Zafer Isiklar said people had begun to stream into his cafe from around 530am "frantically trying to grab their coffees".
"People physically were here, but mentally they were not," he said.
Isiklar said staff were trying to get people to stay calm, and follow the rules by signing in using government or non-government scanning options but he said the majority of customers did not have much awareness about the apps or how to use them.
He said since the first move to alert level 3, the cafe had put scanning systems for customers to use at every single table, as well as on the shop walls and doors, but he estimated only 8 to 10 percent of people had used them.
"Unfortunately, people didn't care much. We were quite relaxed."
Isiklar's thoughts are now going to how they are going to survive a second lockdown, and how he is going to continue to pay rent and wages.
He said no staff were let go during the first lockdown. "We managed to survive, but we don't know how many more lockdowns we are going to stay above the water."
Many eateries and cafes around the CBD area had already transitioned to being takeaway-only and had cordoned sit-down areas off from customers prior to 12pm.
Sarah Kong from Mont Cafe, which already had a plastic screen installed, said they were worried about the spread of the virus more than they were worried about its impact on the business.
Rebekah Levesque and her friends were all wearing masks as they made their way to the supermarket.
"We're pretty scared, actually," she said.
"We're just going to get some supplies and keep safe for the three-day lockdown," said Vanessa Be, although the group all agreed they were expecting restrictions to be extended beyond Friday.
"We're preparing for the worst."
Gemma Harton was listening to the prime minister's update on her phone as she wheeled her office chair and laptop down the street. She said she stayed up, stressed, the night before.
"I'm hoping the lockdown only lasts three days because the last one was painful. I live alone, so it gets lonely and it's just boring. I'm not great at working from home either. I much prefer to be in the office."
Arash was walking down the street holding a computer monitor and said the first thing he did this morning was buy more face masks before heading into the office to pick up office gear to work from home.
He was feeling optimistic about making it through another period of level-three restrictions.
"We did it once, I think we can do it twice. There should be no problem."