TRADE boomed for the few businesses that could afford to compete with penalty rates at the Easter long weekend.
At TC's Takeaway, thousands of orders rang in on Good Friday, owner Peter Balsar said.
"I think there's less shops open because they can't afford public holiday wages, we're all family here so that makes a big difference," he said.
"It's so expensive to run a business on a public holiday."
It's the first year the business had a one-hour wait time on orders, with 20 baskets in the deep fryer all day.
Business owners that open on public holidays can pay up to triple time, dependent on an employees' award.
For some there isn't enough of a profit margin to justify trading with penalty rates.
Essential services like motels will usually stay open, Tamworth Business Chamber president Jye Segboer said.
"Unless you are a large retail business working on an enterprise bargain agreement with a flat rate, it's not worth your while on a public holiday," he said.
"It's just worth it for the small handful that do because the market isn't spread over a large number of locations.
"But for many locals this was the last chance to head to the coast before it gets too cold, there was hardly anyone wandering Peel Street and very limited traffic movement."
At The Pig and Tinder Box restaurant, publican Matthew Bettesworth opened every day of the long weekend and said the juice was worth the squeeze.
"It was a really busy Friday night with heaps of out-of-towners, it was a great weekend," he said.
"100 per cent it is a risk but part of our ethos is that we stay open no matter what, except for Christmas."
Penalty rates are a hot topic in the upcoming federal election, with the Labor Party promising to reverse cuts before June 30 if it wins the election.
This Easter was the second since the Fair Work Commission authorised lower penalty rates to be staggered across several years from 2017.
Analysis by the Australia Institute showed that half a million hospitality and retail staff stood to lose $80 million in wages on the four-day long weekend.