Businesses across New South Wales are welcoming in the first day of reduced restrictions in the state, re-opening their doors as vaccination levels continue to climb.
Sydney restauranteur Marcello Marcobello from Blue Angel said his diners had rushed in to make bookings again.
“We’ve got so many loyal diners who have their bookings locked in and our tablecloths are starched, ready to go,” Mr Marcobello said.
“I’m so excited about the first seating of customers – I’m a table-side chef so cooking a giant king crab or flaming a Crêpes Suzette at the table will be the highlight of my night.”
“We’ve survived everything so far from the Al Capone days in Sydney when things were rough, through to recessions and now this pandemic.
“I must say though after 60 years of business, this pandemic has been the toughest thing we’ve had to weather. My heart goes out to other restaurateurs who have been suffering alongside us.”
NAB Group Executive Business & Private Bank, Andrew Irvine, said it was pleasing to see vaccination levels continue to rise across the country, crucial to unlocking more freedoms again as we are seeing in NSW.
“It’s an exciting time for NSW and especially for small businesses, many of whom have been struggling through lockdown and restricted trading,” Mr Irvine said.
“We’ve seen from previous re-openings that business bounces back strongly with people raring for lunch out with friends and drinks at the local.
“I’ve been speaking to businesses keenly anticipating turning the sign to ‘open’ – after the last lockdown, we saw spending in New South Wales bounce back strongly as restrictions began being lifted. We are mindful this reopening is slightly different to previous periods, with COVID circulating some may be initially cautious about moving through the community.”
Joh Bailey from Joh Bailey salons said haircuts were in high demand.
“Our phones and online booking system have been inundated with customers desperate to return to the salon,” Mr Bailey said.
“Generally, the common line is ’my hair, my hair, please help!’ It will be fantastic to see our chairs full and our staff re-connecting with their clients after such a long break.”
Terri Winter, founder and curator of premium homewares and exclusive designer furniture company top3 by design said their show rooms were stocked and ready to go.
“We’re so, excited about next week’s re-opening and are busy getting our showrooms ready and restocked,” Ms Winter said.
“Sydneysiders are very keen to reinvent the spaces they have been sitting in for so long and we can’t wait to help build their space back into an entertainment oasis.
“The biggest challenge we have now is hiring skilled, vaccinated team members – we’re in the market to add several new design savvy staff to our team help bring Germany, Denmark and Australia’s finest design homewares and furniture to our customers.”
Mr Irvine said he that while some businesses had been hurting, others are doing incredibly well and there was much cause for optimism.
“While the lockdowns have been tough, households and the labour market went into lockdown in a good financial position,” Mr Irvine said.
“The strength of online spending has clearly helped support retail to some extent. There are other sectors that have been powering forward despite the pandemic, especially Agriculture.
“The re-opening in New South Wales will be a glimpse into the future for Victoria where booming vaccinate rates mean restrictions should ease very soon. It’s a timely reminder for anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated, to make sure they get the jab as soon as possible.”
Anyone who still needs support from the impacts of COVID-19 can find more information on support available here.
Support options include the NAB Business Recovery Loan, designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SME) that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The loan is provided as part of the Federal Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme.