Tamworth's CBD was packed on Saturday after the end to a month-long lockdown.
For the first time in a month, it was a struggle to find a park on Peel Street and cafes bulged with patrons with bustling weekend lunch-time traffic.
But the threat of a third lockdown still hangs over the head of every restaurant and cafe owner. Even a single confirmed COVID-19 case would send the entire city back into stay-at-home orders.
Gusto owner Chloe Morris said her cafe had been almost full since opening on Saturday morning.
"It's been a while," she said.
"I've been up since 5 this morning. We've been doing graze boxes [for takeaway], so I had to come and do them before we started."
She was able to keep half her turnover thanks to doing deliveries, but with most of the town working from home the other half, largely workers on a lunchtime break, evaporated.
"I hope everyone does what they're meant to do and does everything right. I hope they don't lock us back down, that would be devastating," she said.
"I've talked to some of the other owners... and everyone's devastated when they had to shut. When you have to quickly change your menu it's just on the spot, they really don't give you any warning."
Inland Cafe owner Kristy Sollars said business was still a little down on an ordinary Saturday, but was by no stretch of the imagination a disappointment.
The cafe was shut down for a week longer than the rest of the city, because it was marked as a close contact location during an August coronavirus scare.
Staff only got their negative results back a week later - by which time the entire city was locked down.
"Financially, lockdown is hard. Because we still have our overheads, we still have to pay our insurances. My insurance for here is $11,000. It's big," she said.
Kristy hopes there won't be another lockdown, but thinks there will.
"I'm keeping ordering to a minimum because we're so scared.
"Just to open up, to get all new stock and fresh stock yesterday, our bills just alone yesterday for fresh produce ... was nearly $4000," she said.
The entire New England North West left lockdown at 12.01am on Saturday morning, aside from Narrabri, which has a single case of COVID-19.
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