For the past month, Abbie McCorquodale has been running her business Noah's Ark play centre as usual, and preparing for new vaccination requirements.
It wasn't until last Friday, however, that she realised her business needs to shut under new state-wide guidelines.
Under the NSW 'freedom' roadmap that came into effect yesterday, amusement centres are among the last businesses permitted to reopen in the state, forced to wait until December 1.
In comparison, stadiums and racecourses can reopen this week at the 70 per cent mark, and nightclubs and strip clubs can open at 80 per cent.
Ms McCorquodale said she was floored by the realisation she would have to shut up shop to come into line with Sydney. "It was a feeling of frustration," she said. "I was devastated."
Therese Paul, who operates LaserTag Wagga, which has also had to close, said the news was a serious blow.
"I was pretty devastated," Ms Paul said. "The last 18 months has been really difficult as a small business owner in a regional centre.
"I feel like we've been jumping through hoops to remain open and keep our staff employed and our bills paid and this feels like another kick in the guts."
Ms Paul said she feels her business is expected to take a step back so Sydney can take a step forward.
"I'm happy Sydney is coming out of lockdown, it's been a long, hard road for them, but I don't see why we in regional NSW should be punished and disadvantaged so [they] can open up," she said.
"We've already been open for four weeks, we've had two cases in 12 months or more. We've been doing all the right things in the regions and it feels as though we're being punished."
Ms McCorquodale spent much of Monday making calls to cancel bookings in upcoming weeks, a bitter pill to swallow after months of strict rules and regulations.
The business owners have reached out to local MPs and are hoping to persuade politicians overseeing the roadmap to amend the rule for regional areas.
Dr McGirr said he has reached out to the relevant ministers and is hoping to find a resolution shortly. "Hopefully we can clarify it ... to me it seems a bit ridiculous," he said.
A NSW government spokesperson said closing children's entertainment venues will mitigate the risks of COVID cases expected to increase with the reopening.
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