AT 10.59am on Thursday, Narrabri residents weren't sure whether they would be released from stay-at-home orders or be stuck with them for another week. By 1pm they were free.
The NSW government's decision was a stunning, but welcome one for the community, which had remained in lockdown while neighbouring local government areas came out, after a case was identified on Sunday, September 12.
Narrabri Shire Council mayor Ron Campbell said despite the quick turnaround, locals had already begun hitting the streets as businesses scurried to open their doors.
"It was fantastic news this morning, even now people who were closed are opening up their doors so it's been a very quick reaction from the community," he said.
"And it was a great thing that we were opened at 1 o'clock today rather than what we expected which was 12.01 on Saturday morning, so that was a good thing and an added bonus."
While Cr Campbell was not aware of the decision before it was announced by Deputy Premier John Barilaro at the 11am press conference, he said council had made a significant effort to convince the government to lift the lockdown.
He revealed they had presented their case to Mr Barilaro prior to the crisis cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon, which the mayor believes helped their case.
"We put together for the government, basically a timeline of events that went right through from the point it was declared there was a COVID case in the town," he said.
"So we went right through all the events so we could present a document to the government right before their crisis cabinet meeting.
"So we were up till all hours of the night on Tuesday evening to present our case."
That information may well have influenced the government's decision, with Mr Barilaro stating at a media conference on Thursday that receiving additional "intel" on the Narrabri case was key to the town's release.
"At the exposure site the CCTV, the check in data all showed there was only one or two other customers so it was a very small exposure and therefore we were comfortable," he said.
"The rest of the data said they were in isolation, no longer exposed in the community after that, it was the first case they've had and it was no real risk which is why we re-evaluated Narrabri in this batch."
Around 30 workers at Whitehaven's Narrabri Mine site have also been released from isolation.
They had been tested and isolated after it was discovered a worker has visited a possible COVID contact venue, but all tests came back negative.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark northerndailyleader.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Google News