THE return last Monday of visits to family and friends thanks to an easing of restrictions was a major step in our region's journey out of COVID-19.
The return of retail shopping, the return of dine-in eating and catch-ups at the pub, the return of trips to the gym and hairdresser have also been key moments.
And on Friday Bathurst ticks off another important milestone; the return of live music.
The entertainment industry has been among the hardest hit by the lockdowns of the past 18 months with literally thousands of gigs cancelled overnight.
From the world's biggest stars who had shows cancelled right across the globe to lesser-known solo acts playing in local cafes, the pandemic has changed the life of every performer.
They have been forced to find new ways to express themselves and to get their work in front of an audience but nothing compares to the energy and connection that comes with performing live.
Some of Bathurst's hospitality venues have taken advantage of the lockdown to update their facilities and all the local pubs and clubs are ready to welcome back patrons in their droves as we head into the weekend.
"Everyone knows how much the hospitality industry has been impacted by COVID, but no one talks about the musician side of things," The Family Hotel assistant manager Ryan Hopkins said.
"Musicians have been badly affected by COVID too, and for the next three months, we have two to three gigs booked over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as bigger events once a month, we're throwing everything we've got at it."
Greens On William at the bottom of William Street has also been quick out of the blocks following he easing of restrictions and on Friday night will host the first community market we've seen since stay-at-home orders were imposed across the region.
Again, though, these freedoms aren't a free-for-all and we urge everyone to abide by the rules as they had out for a good time.
Take your mask, QR code in and out, prove your vaccination status and, most importantly, don't hassle the staff who are only doing their job in asking for all this.
We've all earned the right to let our hair down a little, but we still owe it to ourselves and others to play it safe and sensible.
That's not too much to ask.
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