Open signs bringing life back to streets in the Mountains

In cities, towns and villages all over regional NSW and Victoria, Open signs are being turned around.

Chairs and tables are being put out onto pavements and restaurant tables are being dusted off and freshly set.

Retail and hospitality staff are returning to their workplaces after long periods of anxiety and uncertainty, a time made harder by being kept apart from each other and from their customers.

Browsing is back, and we can stop second guessing ourselves about what is essential and what is not.

In all our communities, business owners and their staff are excited to be getting back to doing what they do best; providing service to their loyal customers.

During the lockdowns, it's safe to say we have all taken on a new appreciation of the simple pleasures of life; relaxing while being treated to a manicure or a massage, meeting a friend in a cafe, celebrating a family occasion at our favourite local restaurant or raising a glass or two in the pub.

The emotional and mental health benefits of being once again able to visit a favourite hairdresser, bookshop or gift store can't be overestimated.

More than anything, it's these little things that will give us all a sense of life returning to some kind of normality.

Of course no one is denying the first few weeks will bring challenges as business owners grapple with the technicalities of checking vaccination status prior to entry.

But this will be short lived. In only a few short weeks businesses will be fully open and we will be on the downhill slide to Christmas. Now more than ever before, our local businesses need our help to keep their doors open.

So what can we do to support them? There are a few very basic things.

While we know it's a little inconvenient to have to check in, wear a mask, sanitise hands and show proof of vaccination in order to shop in a physical store - can't we all afford to sacrifice an extra few minutes of time from our day?

We can try to be patient when there are inevitable delays.

If we hear staff being abused by a customer who doesn't like the health orders, we should stand up and say something.

Most importantly, as we enjoy all the little things we've missed, we can vote with our feet, and remind our hard working business community about how much we value them.