Shoalhaven businesses and leaders said while the lockdown extension was "expected", some are anxious about enforcing regulations like checking the vaccination status of customers when the stay-at-home orders eventually lift.
Their reactions come after NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the announcement on Thursday, confirming the lockdown extension for areas with active COVID-19 cases and sewage detection.
Restrictions are set to ease for LGAs that have not detected any new COVID-19 cases or sewage detection for 14 consecutive days, or when the 70 per cent vaccination target is reached.
Hospitality venues, retail stores, personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons, gyms, swimming pools are included in the first stage of the reopening.
In NSW, freedoms are promised only to those who are double vaccinated.
Owner of Kiki the Hippie Shop Kelly Goltz said she is anxious about the potential backlash that may come with checking shopper's vaccination status.
"The lockdown extension wasn't too much of a surprise," she said.
"But I think what's hit me and a lot of other people is the expectation that shopkeepers are meant to be asking and checking for people's ticks and certificates.
"And I think that's an impossible task to put on people."
Kelly said she has already copped abuse from enforcing QR code requirements onto shoppers in the past and is anxious to subject her young staff to similar behaviour that may arise when shops open back up.
"People already got angry at the regulations before this. They swore at us and threw our shop's sanitizer bottles at us," she said.
"We've got 16-year-old girls that work here and I'm 43, but I'm quite little.
"I'm not sure how we'll be taking on anyone's onslaught of aggression if we ask them to present their double vaccination certificate."
Kelly said on top of trying to organise rent relief for her three stores across Vincentia and Huskisson, the thought of enforcing mandates in the future is causing extra stress.
"I'm already fighting with just get the COVID relief for the rent," she said.
"I can't afford to pay for another staff member or to get a security guard to stand at the door and make sure everyone's got their tick or their vaccination status showing."
Kelly said she would like the NSW government to "change their rhetoric" that enforcing these regulations is on business owners.
"None of us chose to work in a shop that sells crystals and clothes and candles and books, to also have to be a policeman," she said.
"It's just going to make for one hellish environment to be working in."
Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per four square metres, but are capped at five clients at one time.
Given this rule, Scruples Hair and Beauty owner Sandra Bayer is unsure if opening the salon will be worth it.
She also said staff members are still waiting to be fully vaccinated.
"I'm not prepared. It's also unworkable that we've may have to do a deep clean if somebody comes in that's COVID positive," she said.
"It sounds like a nightmare to actually open and it may not be worth it we're only allowed to have five people in the salon at once. We have 15 staff. So we won't be able to do our whole business model.
"We also can't open until staff members are 100 per cent vaccinated. I still have staff waiting for a first or second dose."
With the lockdowns tough on her staff and clients, Sandra said she is keen for things to operate as normal in the future.
"I feel sorry for our older clients and people that are just by themselves that I know would be really missing the interaction," said Sandra.
"It's been a bit tougher on the girls (staff) too. They're missing each other.
"But it's been a blessing that the girls are getting paid from the government. Although my youngest apprentice isn't eligible, because she's 16-years-old, so I've just been paying her an allowance because I feel bad she's not getting anything."
With the travel industry facing a tough blow over the last 18 months, the owners of My Travel Expert in Nowra are optimistic they will bounce back once travel opens up again.
"The lockdown extension didn't come as a surprise, but it's still putting us further back," said Julie Woodall, who co-owns My Travel Expert with Leonie Clay.
"Our industry has extremely struggled. All we do is either refunds or rebook. Some bookings were even rebooked three times.
"We had to move out of our premises because we couldn't afford the rent.
"So looking into the future in a month's time, if everything goes according to plan, we could be very busy so we are hopeful."
President of the Shoalhaven Business Chamber Jemma Tribe agreed that the additional compliances on businesses will be "a lot to take on".
"We are just going to have to try manage the resources as best as we can," she said.
"The logistics are something we will all have to get our heads around. Hopefully there will be assistance that will help us comply and allocate resources to our local businesses."
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