The excitement in the Riverina and North East was palpable on Saturday as residents escaped lockdown and ventured into town to enjoy shops and eateries.
For businesses, it was the best day they'd seen in a long time. An oasis of normality in the midst of a horror 19 months.
SportsPower owner Andrew Wilson said flinging open his shop doors and welcoming customers in was a welcome relief.
"We're allowed to get out and about and it's good weather, everyone's spirits are high, everyone is happy," he said on Saturday.
"It's just good to have your doors open. I've been in here from nine to five every day of the last month just trying to do what I can, but when those doors are shut and there's no activity they become pretty long days, pretty morbid."
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For many customers it was the first chance they'd had to visit SportsPower's new premises on Dean Street, which was only open a week and a half before lockdown hit.
Mr Wilson said even with online and social media sales lockdown was tough.
"You have to work a lot harder to get a lot less money to put it bluntly," he said.
"It's hard for everyone but the timing for us, not just moving into a new shop, but also the transition to summer sports - you've got all your summer stock rolling in but no means of it going out the door..."
Like most operators Mr Wilson is hoping his doors will remain open.
"We were lucky enough through the winter [sport season] we were okay because most of the seasons were still going along," he said.
"It's now the uncertainly of summer seasons... Cricket Albury Wodonga are super confident it will go forward but if you were a customer or a mum or a dad wanting to buy something you're probably sitting tight, waiting... it slows everything down. Every time there's a lockdown or a little set back people are pretty hesitant."
Further down Dean Street, Essential Ingredient owner and Albury Business Connect chair Barry Young said looking out the doors of his shop was like looking back in time.
"A lot of people are about, the street's been busy, it's back to really what we considered to be normal pre-COVID," he said.
"Everyone's reaction has been the same, they've just been dying to get out, talk and connect with people again. They've really felt it."
While Essential Ingredient was open to customers throughout the NSW lockdown, foot traffic was low and hours were restricted
"I felt relieved," Mr Young said about hearing lockdown was lifting.
"Not only for our sake but all of the businesses along here, there's been a lot of businesses dipping into the reserves so it's good able to get back this week because a lot of businesses were really starting to feel pressure.
"The Premier coming out and talking about 70 and 80 per cent [reopening] hopefully gives businesses some confidence particularly because we're heading into Christmas which is our biggest time."
Despite the optimism, border closures continue to loom overhead, cutting off 50 per cent of most business' customer base.
"As busy as it is today we're still missing out on significant trade out of North East Victoria," Mr Young said.
Just off Dean Street, Monument Icecream was benefiting from the great weather.
"Today's been good," owner Matthew Vogel said.
"It's the perfect storm, 24 degrees, sunny and end of lockdown - it's good."
South of the border similar the sentiment was similar.
Owner of @Charlie's in Wangaratta Jonathan Sanders said since opening their doors at 11.30am on Friday, the burger joint had been bustling.
"It's been a bit overwhelming trying to get used to the normality," he said.
Strict restrictions in Victoria mean the venue can only allow ten patrons inside and 20 outside.
"It's very difficult and very stressful because you have to change your business operation," Mr Sanders said.
"There's been a lot of people down street since early in morning, people are walking around bags of stuff which is really nice to see."
There's no denying it's been extremely hard to be in and out of lockdown so many times, but Mr Sanders said, the community has kept businesses going.
"The funding we got from the government at the start wasn't sufficient, it's purely thanks to the the good will of people who are supporting businesses," he said.
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