THE decision to push the reopening of the regions to Greater Sydney residents back by two weeks will cause frustration for a number of Orange businesses, particularly in hospitality services.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said he was surprised the government put the date back to November 1 and he felt the pain of venues that "have probably taken bookings they now have to cancel".
"It surprised me that it went back two weeks. I had it in the back of my mind a week might be what they would do," he said.
Cr Kidd said Orange was in good shape to open and is proud of the city's response to vaccination which he said had us well-placed to open to Sydney-siders next week.
"I think what it might do is shake all the other areas [that are lagging] to increase that vaccination rate, and I'd also like them to put some time and effort, the bureaucracies involved that is, to put some time into rapid antigen tests.
"From a health perspective our hospitals are well staffed, with ICU beds and ventiliators. You can't hold areas to ransom because others aren't as well prepared. I would have liked us to open next week.
In the meantime, Cr Kidd said the term 'freedom day' had given people a false sense of security and promoted reckless behaviour in the midst of rising COVID cases in Orange.
Cr Reg Kidd said media channels were promoting the wrong message after NSW premier Dominic Perrottet brought forward the roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdowns earlier this week.
"I didn't agree with them calling it freedom day - they're showing parties and people at the beach with no social distancing which is giving people the wrong idea," he said on Thursday.
"What it is, is a slow easing of restrictions but in the media, it was like it was all over."
Mr Kidd was speaking after appearing on the Channel 9's Today Show where he flagged a long wait until Orange returns to 'where it was two years ago'.
Mr Kidd was a third of a group interview with Belligen shire mayor Dominic King and Albury counterpart Kevin Mack who were sharing their concerns about regional centres being opened to city residents too soon.
"It's not just about tourism, its about a whole lot of other business' as to why we've got to take a precautionary approach in getting back to some level or normality, which we won't be getting back to where we were two years ago," Cr Kidd said in the interview.
Cr Kidd says the Perrottet government needs to do more to get the message through about the restrictions that still apply and the gradual move towards normality.
"It's taken them 18 months to decide we're going to live with COVID, and look what's happened since [lockdown was eased]. We've had more cases in Orange since coming out.
"[The NSW Government] just hasn't got the message out there."
Cr Jeff Whitton, who is on Orange City Council's economic development committee and is also council's representative on tourism body Orange 360, pointed out some industries had thrived under COVID and it was time get other's moving in the same direction.
"Is it too soon? I think if we don't start looking at the economics of the city by allowing business to get back to running their operation they may never come back, small business I'm talking about," he said.
Cr Whitton believes Orange will surpass its healthy pre-COVID economic position.
"[COVID] has really highlighted there is a big demand for everything from tech through to construction through to trades," he said but added the challenge was resources and materials.
"A lot of [material] was coming out of china. Are will still sourcing stuff from China or have people got to tool themselves to product enough product in this country to service demand.
"That's the catch up part."
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