THE first week of "freedom" in NSW got off to a slow start for some businesses in Bathurst, who are now counting down to the relaxation of travel restrictions.
There had been a lot of talk about "Freedom Day" in the lead up to October 11, but residents in Bathurst have shown some hesitancy in getting back out and about.
Business owner Ash Lyons, who runs cafés and pubs in Bathurst and Orange, says business has been slow.
"I actually forecasted that this would be the case. We're not dead, but we're not going to break any records," he said.
"You can't compare it to the first shutdown. When we reopened it was pandemonium; it was at the end of JobKeeper so there was a lot of money in the community, domestic tourism was allowed, people wanted to travel in NSW, and we didn't have the conditions that we've got to go through, which is all of our customers have to be vaccinated."
He said most of the community is vaccinated, but people struggle to show proof on their phones.
Delaying regional travel to November 1 is a major factor hurting some regional businesses, Mr Lyons said.
"This delaying domestic regional tourism, this is really not helping us. It is a real punch in the guts," he said.
"I said four weeks from opening before we can start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is we're open and we're trading, but we're not trading at the standard that we should be trading, but the running costs of running our businesses are still the same."
It's for this reason he thought the new Dine and Discover vouchers, set to be released in December, should have been made available sooner, to help businesses through their first few weeks of trade.
However, not all businesses see it this way.
Bathurst RSL Club general manager Peter Sargent said that the delay in resuming regional travel is not hurting the club.
"With the support from members and the community, our trade is at a similar level to when we reopened after the last lockdown," he said.
"Obviously food and beverage remains a little subdued, again that's what happened last time, but it's been good, it's been respectable."
He thinks business will well and truly pick up in December, when businesses can go back to the two square metre rule and ditch masks inside.
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