Restaurants and cafes in Orange have started to take cautious steps to reopen for dine in customers following the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday.
With 10 customers allowed to take part in sit-down meals at a time, Avido Ristorante, Mr Lim, the Great Western Hotel and The Blind Pig - Sound Lounge and Bar were among the first to open their doors.
However, some other businesses such as The Union Bank have not been able to justify the cost of opening for only 10 customers at a time.
Avido Ristorante, Mr Lim, and Mr Sushi King owner Sammy Jeon said he has run take-away services from all three of his businesses throughout the restrictions.
He said he had not been planning to open for dine-in service for 10 diners at a time but changed his mind and opened the Italian and Korean eateries on Friday due to an influx of customer requests.
He said Mr Sushi King had been doing well with take-aways, after the first two weeks of restrictions, which were slow
He said he thought 10 people would not work for dine-in services because he would have to put on extra staff in addition to providing the take-away and delivery services.
"I had an enormous amount of phone calls, they wanted to get out of their houses, we decided Thursday night to open it," Mr Jeon said.
A lot of restaurants are having a hard time, it was hard for me because I had to let half my staff go.Restaurateur, Sammy Jeon
He said like take-aways, he has offered a more limited menu due to trouble sourcing products such as meat and seafood but customers seemed happy with the pasta and pizza options at Avido.
"A lot of restaurants are having a hard time, it was hard for me because I had to let half my staff go, [Avido] was hard because it's new," Mr Jeon said.
"My staff is from overseas so they are not eligible for Job Keeper."
Mr Jeon said he has been trying to help the people he sponsors and even with reduced hours he's made sure staff could buy groceries and pay their rent.
Great Western Hotel owner Matt Hardman opened for sold-out lunch and dinner services on Friday and Saturday with two seatings of 10 people during each meal period.
"We are fortunate that they come in at 6pm and other people come in at 7pm," he said.
"We are lucky that our customers are understanding of that."
Mr Hardman said his customers were also understanding of the need for social distancing.
He said he has also been running take-away services throughout the restrictions and had introduced them before coronavirus, which helped him keep running throughout the restrictions.
Mr Hardman said a lot of his regulars wanted to come for a beer and a meal and although seats booked out quickly he has started booking further into the week.
The Blind Pig - Sound Lounge and Bar owner John Vandenberg also opened to customers on Friday night for the first time and has just started a trial of take-away food.
"We don't want to offer a half service so we called it pretty early on."The Union Bank head chef, Dom Aboud
As a night-time venue he said he has been taking birthday party bookings of up to 10 guests but he is looking forward to numbers increasing further and said it would make a difference when 20 people were allowed and the business could re-open to full capacity.
However, The Union Bank venue manager Sarah Crowley and head chef Dom Aboud said it hasn't been viable for the restaurant to reopen at this stage.
Mr Aboud said the business considered serving take-away meals but it did not translate with the style of business or the type of food that was served.
"We don't want to offer a half service so we called it pretty early on," he said.
"At this stage we are just following what the government is announcing as we go, each time they bring out new rules we will reassess."
Miss Crowley said the overheads would also be too high to provide food for only 10 people, or a maximum of 20 over split sittings, when taking into account the cost of power, heating, staff wages, and purchasing produce.
She said the business opened at the start of October and was approaching its six-month anniversary and its anticipated busiest period with FOOD Week and Easter when the restrictions were introduced.
Mr Aboud and Miss Crowley said they were using the current quiet period as a chance to reflect on the business so far, and Mr Aboud has been doing a lot of cooking and trying out new dishes for when the restaurant reopens.
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