Maitland has been a hive of activity with many businesses finally able to open their doors to the community, following the lifting of stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday.
"Freedom day" saw residents queueing up out the doors, finally able to enjoy a (COVID safe) brew, a bite and that much needed hair appointment, and owners are saying the Maitland community was overall extremely respectful and understanding of the rules.
Owner of Rutherford's Bradford Hotel, Neil Hedges, said Monday was amazing with a constant flow of people from 10am and a packed out restaurant for lunch and dinner.
"Everyone that came in had their double vax certificate, we had no dramas at all and everyone was actually very appreciative that we're open," he said.
In other news:
"It was just great to have the doors open and to see our locals again."
Mr Hedges said they would have had up to a thousand people through the door, not bad for a Monday.
"The Bradford Hotel is a family to us, it was good to see groups of people chatting and having a beer with their mates again, especially after not being able to see them for so long."
Barbers across Maitland were seen with huge lines out their doors, with one forward thinking man bringing a chair to sit on while waiting in line.
High Street Barber Shop owner Lauren Struczko said at one point there was a three hour wait in her shop, with people putting their names down and coming back.
"Our line up at one stage was 25 people, and the first client was waiting from 7.10am.
"I opened the doors at 7.45am and was on my feet from then until 6.30pm, I even forgot to have lunch," she said.
"Every customer was very understanding and respectful to my business and didn't mind lining up for so long for their haircut."
Ms Struczko said the best thing about being reopened is connecting with her clients and having conversations again.
"I have worked in the shop for 29 years so a lot of my customers are also friends," she said.
Blake Signal from Lorn Park Bowls Sport & Recreation Club said it's fantastic to be open again.
"It was really good to see a lot of the locals come back into the club and enjoy each other's company again," he said.
"We had no issues with all the conditions that were laid out, everyone showed their double vaccination certificate and signed in properly, it was a really good day."
Spirits were high with around 6 or 7 times the amount of people through the doors compared to a regular Monday.
Mr Signal said it was great to provide an outlet for socialising to the community, especially as a lot of their members are older and have been isolated at home.
"Now they have this outlet to communicate a bit more freely, and come to the club to socialise a bit more.
"It's good for the mental state of the community and for us it's good to be open and see those relationships build again."
"Everyone was really good, we didn't have any issues at all here, not that we normally do at this club.
"Everyone is pretty local and they all adhered to everything, it was great."
Do you know you can subscribe to get full access to all Maitland Mercury stories? Subscribing supports us in our local news coverage. To subscribe, click here