TAMWORTH leaders have pleaded with the community to rally behind small businesses in what they hope is the final push to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, which have been crippling some local retailers.
Mayor Col Murray said it's critical to keep these companies at the front of your mind as we head towards what is "hopefully the back end" of heavy regulations designed to curb the spread of the pandemic.
"Please don't shop online out of our nation, or even out of our region, and if it's at all possible, please try and spend your money locally and spend your money wisely," he said on Monday.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said "welcome back" to local businesses beginning to re-open their doors and encouraged Tamworth residents to support them - and it couldn't be more timely.
"Everybody knows this Sunday is Mother's Day and what we do need to do it remember those mums right across our region, who day-in day-out, make sure that we're taken care of," he said.
"What I'm suggesting is everybody, if you could, please buy local.
"Go and buy your products locally, and show mum how much you love her this Sunday."
With Peel Street bustling on Monday morning, Cr Murray said the numbers of people out and about was a concern, but said most seem to be abiding by social distancing measures.
"It's actually an endorsement for the Tamworth community that they are doing what they can to try and support those local businesses," he said.
"But whilst they are doing that, observing their social distances ... because we're not quite there, we're not quite to the end of the race yet, we're turning into the home straight I believe, but there's still a way to go."
Despite promising statistics that show Tamworth has massively increased COVID-19 screening recently and has not recorded a new case of the deadly virus in more than two weeks, Cr Murray said it's important not to become complacent.
He said council will do "whatever can possibly be done" to keep the city clean, but ultimately, locals have to be on the ball when out shopping.
"I think there's a responsibility to all the individuals, to all the businesses and to all the residents also to look after their own areas and have a responsible attitude," Cr Murray said.
For a comprehensive list about what's open around town, check out the Leader's Open for Business section.