Businesses across Wagga that were forced to close their doors throughout the lockdown period were thrilled to reopen and welcome customers back on Saturday.
Collins Booksellers owner Jenny Leggett could only describe the past month in lockdown using one word: "terrible, terrible, terrible".
With the physical store closed for almost four weeks, there wasn't enough income to make rent, and online orders were time-consuming as many were unfamiliar with the process.
To have the store open to the public once more is "wonderful", Mrs Leggett said.
"They love to see, feel, touch, open the books," she added.
"I don't think [the next few weeks] will totally make up for it, however I think it will certainly help."
Manager of Cobbler rd, Hayley Veitch, said it was the "best feeling ever" to reopen on Saturday.
"There were line-up's on the street, we even recorded a video of it," she said.
"We knew a lot of people would be doing a lot of self-care today with the hairdressers and that, and thought they might not get out and browse, [but] it's been great."
Ms Veitch also described the last month as "terrible", with a shoplifter on Friday adding salt to the wound.
"[It's] just like a kick in the guts when we've been closed and we've lost hours," she said.
Looking to the future she is feeling more optimistic, with the Wagga community doing the right thing in terms of following COVIDSafe rules and getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Hopefully in regional [areas] we can get the new normal happening sooner rather than later," she said.
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Manager of the Curious Rabbit cafe Vickie Burkinshaw said there was a great atmosphere inside on Saturday as customers were allowed to dine-in for the first time in a month.
There was even live music, and the event calendar is starting to be filled up once more.
Even though the cafe could offer takeaway throughout lockdown, Ms Burkinshaw said the past month has been "really tough".
"Part of what you try to create with any cafe is the mood and the beautiful surrounds," she said, which was difficult to enjoy with customers only picking up food and leaving again.
"Our loyal customers have been so wonderfully supportive and really making an effort."
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