Border and North East hospitality and entertainment venues are navigating returned density limits and restrictions.
Singing and dancing has been suspended at venues in NSW and Victoria has reinstated a limit of one person per two square metres.
However, many businesses are struggling to even stay open.
Rutherglen's Grace by Milkin Kitchen had a strong reopening from December 29 but owners Erica and Matthieu Miller have made the difficult decision to close for one week.
Mrs Miller said they would otherwise be working with "skeleton staff".
"The half of our staff that tested positive on rapid antigen tests are our casual pool and the other half that tested negative are our full-timers," she said.
"If our full-timers work this weekend and go down, we're absolutely stuffed for the next two weeks and that's January gone in the busiest time for this region.
"So we thought we'd call it early, before we've done all our ordering, and that would be a better decision for our business and to protect the staff that didn't get it."
There are 73 active cases in Indigo Shire and 144 in neighbouring Moira; the Bundalong Tavern has closed and so has Blacksmith Provedore Mulwala due to COVID-19.
Mrs Miller said it had been a "snowball effect".
"Even after we made our announcement two days ago, to see the other Rutherglen businesses that have been impacted as well, it's clear that this is going to be out of control and it's heartbreaking," she said.
"You can't ask your staff not to have a social life because you need to keep your business open, but that's almost what it's come to."
Mrs Miller said she was grateful for community support and to be able to reopen in a week's time.
"When we open next week, the one person per two square metres density returns," she said.
"There was a rule with the last lockdowns that venues of our size could actually have 25 - which was still half of what we would do - but I haven't seen that written anywhere.
"So that would mean I can actually only seat 14.
"But we are better off being open than doing takeaway, financially."
As of midnight Thursday, people who test positive on a rapid antigen test will be considered probable cases and be subject to the same requirements as confirmed cases from a PCR test - they must isolate immediately for seven days and notify their contacts.
It will be mandatory to report the result of a positive RAT to the Department of Health through an online form or by phone.
The new pandemic orders require that a density quotient of one person per two square metres be introduced indoors at hospitality and entertainment venues.
The strong recommendation to work from home and study from home for adult education if you can will remain in place until Australia Day.
Non-urgent elective surgery will temporarily be reduced for public and private hospitals.
Positive RATs will be recorded through Service NSW.
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