There is a mixed reaction to the easing of COVID-19 lockdowns, with confusion being a common element on ‘Freedom Day’.
The NSW Government’s roadmap to recovery gave way to the lifting of many restrictions for those who have received two COVID-19 vaccination shots on Monday.
Some residents may now not enter pubs, clubs, restaurants, non-essential retail venues or Council services. Those with only one vaccine shot, or less, only have access to essential services.
Places such as gyms, places of worship, sporting facilities, non-essential businesses and personal services (such as a massage) have reopened only to the double vaccinated.
Chris Cuddy faces a rather unique problem in his shop, Perennialle Plants. The nursery side of his business is classed as essential retail with vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons permitted to enter. However, the new rules that came in on Monday mean patrons require proof of having the two COVID-19 vaccinations to enter the cafe and retail side of the same building.
“People who could have eaten in the cafe on Sunday were unable to [on Monday],” he said.
He wants to do the right thing and comply with the health orders, but said the “blanket” rules for the State are frustrating and make it complex for small business owners. “The rules have been designed around Sydney. It’s a bit different out here,” Mr Cuddy said.
Mr Cuddy has written to Member for Orange Phil Donato about the matter.
“I do want to keep my staff and customers healthy and I’m willing to help with the digital double vaccination certificate,” he said.
“Most people want to do the best thing to keep people safe and that’s what’s been happening.”
Kim Roberts from Central West Saddlery hasn’t brought in any changes instore since Monday. There is the same QR code entry system, but has to catch everyone before they walk in to check for their double vaccination certificate.
“It’s just a lot more work to check everyone’s COVID status. And I feel it’s not really my business if they have chosen to vaccinate or not. I’m not a health professional and that’s their personal medical information,” Ms Roberts said.
Given unvaccinated people will have ‘greater freedoms’ on December 1, business owners are questioning the logic. “It just seems crazy that in a few more weeks it won’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not,” Ms Roberts said. Tourists will be back later this month, once 80% vaccine coverage has been reached.
“Cabonne is looking forward to welcoming fellow regional and rural visitors to the area now that the NSW restrictions are starting to ease,” Cabonne Council said in a statement.
“Whilst it is exciting to see the state start to open back up this week, Council would like to remind everyone that community safety is paramount, and adherence to the NSW Health guidelines is necessary to continue maintaining that safety in Canowindra, and throughout Cabonne.”
Customers can still order takeaway from Perennial Plants and Central West Saddlery shoppers can make click and collect purchases.