Tourism will resume in New South Wales next week, as the state relaxes regional travel rules, for the fully vaccinated, but many in the regions, who have lived relatively COVID-free, are nervous Sydneysiders could put vulnerable populations with limited health resources at risk.
For Coffs Harbour, like much of Australia, reopening is a tough balance. Keeping the tourists out has helped it escaped the worst of COVID-19.
Mayor Denise Knight was part of a group of 13 leaders from the New South Wales north coast pushing for the reopening date to be moved back.
She says businesses are desperate for the return of tourists. The vaccination rate in this region is lagging about 15 per cent behind the state average.
- The New South Wales government granted the regions an two extra weeks - to get more jabs in arms - but that time is up on November 1st.
- More time needed, to get the vaccination rates up, but time that will cost tourism operators.
- To help boost inoculations, the ex-services club is running a vaccination hub above the bistro.
And it's not only regional travel that'll open next week. Vaccinated Australians and their families can return from overseas, without quarantine.
This prospect that has some local leaders on edge, including Coffs Mayor Denise.
"If they do come back and don’t have to go into quarantine. Please don’t come to the regions for a little while, give us a little more time, but as I said they’re Aussies, this is their home."