HOSPITALITY businesses are hopeful of good numbers, but don't expect there will be a roaring trade this race week.
Race week is often the busiest period of the year for restaurants and cafes, but the reduced crowd for the Great Race serves as yet another blow to businesses from COVID-19.
With a lack of visitors, it is hoped locals can fill the void.
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Kings Hotel head chef Kirstyn Peel said she hopes it will get busier on Friday and Saturday, traditionally the biggest days of race week, but it's hard to predict what will happen.
"We're hoping. [Wednesday] night was probably our best night out of the week, but we're hoping that we get a few more as the days go on," she said.
The Kings doesn't normally take bookings over the four days of the event, using a first-in-best-dressed approach, but is using a booking system this time around due to COVID.
There are two sittings from Thursday to Sunday, one from 6pm to 7.30pm and the other from 7.30pm until close, to get as many people as possible in over dinner.
After such a tough year, Ms Peel hopes race week can provide some joy and that locals will stick by them, too.
"Usually most years the locals get scared off because of all the people, but we're just hoping they still come out and support us, because it's such a hard year to predict what's going to happen," she said.
The local patrons are just as important to Bathurst RSL Club.
General manager Peter Sargent said that more people from outside of Bathurst are visiting the club this week, but there's been a decrease in locals.
"It's always nice to be able to welcome people to town and see an increase in business, we're always grateful for that, but ultimately we rely mostly on locals," he said.
"... I think people are probably more nervous during this period still because we are getting cases in NSW, so I think there's a bit of a hesitancy about getting out and about, but we would love to welcome anyone that wants to come in and get a meal."
While visitation to the club is much lower than normal, the RSL has been able to get somewhat of a boost from a partnership with Supercars.
Mr Sargent said the RSL has been asked to provide catering for hundreds of volunteers working at the Mount.
"We've still been able to keep our staff busy and that has provided good business for the club," he said.
For Ash Lyons, who owns The Oxford Hotel and several other hospitality businesses, he anticipates he'll only see about 30 per cent of the extra business he'd normally see over race week.
However, he is trying to remain optimistic.
"Fingers crossed, I'm hoping that locals will say 'There isn't that influx of thousands of campers that usually come to town, we're going to get out, we're going to live life like normal' ... I just hope they treat this week as a normal week in their lives," he said.
"That's really important for our businesses."
If there's no race week boost, Mr Lyons hopes Christmas tourism can help.