Greater Sydney has enjoyed its first day of freedom in over 106 days where their loved ones were reunited across NSW.
Bars, restaurants, pubs, shops, gyms and hairdressers finally reopened, while visitors were allowed to enter nursing homes and nursing homes.
People in large parts of the state could also welcome fully vaccinated guests into their homes.
Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke this morning Today easing the restrictions was a big step forward, but it also brought challenges.
“It will be a challenge, but I have full faith in the people of our state during this period that they will treat everyone with kindness and respect,” Perrottet said.
“But I ask people to be patient today and over the next few weeks as we move through it. Because there will be challenges, there will be difficulties.”
Hair and beauty salon workers were run off their feet as people try to look their best in front of a social circle that suddenly became wider than Zoom calls and small picnics.
Ask customers to be patient
It told Alexi Boyd, CEO of Small Business Australia Today traders had a lot to juggle with, including mandate for customer vaccinations.
“There is a lot to consider at the moment. Small businesses are probably worried about whether they can bring their staff back on board at full capacity.
“They’re worried about mandate vaccines with their clients and maybe a little bit of behavior that might not be that helpful.”
Boyd asked customers to show patience with staff today.
“What we ask people to do is be patient, be kind, be considerate of the small business owner and the people who work for them. Do not take your frustrations out especially on them, but especially on social media later.
“We are seeking real support from the community as small businesses begin to find their feet again after being closed for so long.”
Shoppers, gymnasts flocking back
Fitness centers saw a bustle of people seeking to do away with a few lockdown indulgences, and non-essential businesses of all kinds are eager to welcome customers back to the stores.
A fitness center in Penrith in western Sydney opened its doors before dawn today.
Owner Michael told 9News that members have begun returning to early training.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he said Today.
“So for the community, for us as owners it will be very exciting. Freedom Day here we are.”
The Kmart store in Penrith also reopened in the early hours, with customers queuing at the doors before midnight, hoping to get the most out of great deals.
The police are ready to help companies
Highway patrols will also be out of force, ensuring Greater Sydney residents do not break the rules and try to enter regional NSW, State Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told Today.
And for partygoers who do not have to worry about work in the morning, bars and pubs all over the city have been happy to pour pints and mix cocktails again after such a long time.
Toongabbie Sports Club in the west of the city opened its doors at midnight in a move that CEO Andrew Lauridsen said was about getting the community to reconnect.
“It’s a party, it’s a welcome back, it’s a come and have a beer with your friends,” he told 9News.
“And I think mateship, that Aussie mateship was really lacking in these times, and it’s going to be so gratifying to look back.”
Cheers to George Street, Scruffy Murphy’s and the Canterbury Leagues Club were all just as eager to be cracked.
Photos posted on Twitter seemed to show people queuing outside both the Cheers and the league club.
This is also good news, for shoppers who are desperate for a little browsing rather than just clicking and collecting when Kmart welcomed customers back at midnight.
Journalism student Liam Gilleland shared a video of a busy Kmart parking lot with a long queue to get in just before midnight.
In the midst of all the excitement, there are many questions left about the next one.
It is unclear what effect reopening, even with more than 70 percent of those aged 16 and over, double-vaccinated, will have on the spread of the virus.
And some companies have expressed concern about how they will be able to keep unvaccinated prospective patrons away in an aggravated situation.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned people to remain cautious.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Hazzard said.
‘Freedom Day’ in photos: Drinks, haircuts, gyms and shopping
“Enjoy what we’ve all worked very, very hard for, but just be careful.”