Wagga businesses owners say sales have not ramped up despite Christmas only being a month away, adding it is impossible to predict what any given day will bring.
Fiona Beggs, the owner of Monty and Moo on Fitzmaurice Street, said when it was time to put the "vaccination proof required" signs in the doorway, business slowed right down.
Mrs Beggs said a sign that things are quiet, especially only a month out from Christmas, is how easy it is to get to a park on the main streets or around the CBD.
"We have had a few good days, but it is up and down," she said.
"I am not sure if the fact we have had some cases in Wagga has worried people. There have been a few travellers through which have been nice, but some days are very quiet.
"The loyal customers who love this end of town, we are all very grateful to them. They make a big difference to small businesses."
Mrs Beggs said she sees reports from the government and media that things are "ramping up" as the festive season rapidly approaches, but they do not see that on the ground.
"Most people are good when you ask for their vax certificate, but it's another thing to remember, and some people haven't even downloaded it because it's been too hard to work out, and that's in all age groups," she said.
"Some people think 'I will just wait until we don't have to do that'."
"When they ease restrictions again, and the unvaccinated are allowed out, I don't know if that will make it better or worse. I don't know if people will be more hesitant."
Mrs Beggs said she could not pick what days would be busy, as there is "no rhyme or reason" when people choose to go out shopping at the moment.
It's a sentiment echoed by Aidan Adams, one of the owners of Melba's Bakehouse and Eatery and The Manhattan Wagga.
"At Melba's, it's all over the place because while weekends are hectic, on weekdays you don't know what you are going to get," he said.
"Through COVID, we would usually see 10 to 20 per cent fluctuation in trade, but at the moment it's not uncommon to see a 40 per cent. It makes it difficult to predict staffing and stock."
Mr Adams said that by mid-morning on Wednesday, they had matched Tuesday's sales, adding "you can't pick any given day as to what you are going to get".
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He said the accommodation side of the business was kept going by some long-term stays, but things had still not picked up as much as expected.
"Usually we find we are busier through the week being on the main street and we get tradies and people who are working and then the weekends we are not booked out," Mr Adams said.
"But at the moment, we are just as busy on the weekends, and we are not getting the long term bookings.
"People aren't sending staff down to Wagga as much, and I don't think we are back to the normal patterns of life."
Mr Adams has been running The Manhattan Wagga for about two years and said it is expected Christmas and New Year's would be quiet.
But, they are 40 to 50 per cent booked for the week of Christmas.
"I think we have people coming into Wagga to visit family for Christmas because there is more confidence in regional areas as opposed to them going the other way around," he said.
"It will be interesting to see how things go over the next couple of months."
Rebekah Kirby, the owner of The Huntress, said she finds customers are reluctant to browse at retail shops.
"I think people are vaccinated, but they have to take extra steps to go to a normal shop with the check-in and showing the vaccination certificate," she said.
"The thing people are telling me is they aren't browsing anymore, and they won't go into a shop unless it is for a specific item that is there.
"I expected it to pick up after we all opened up again, but it hasn't. It hasn't been terrible, but it hasn't been what we thought."
Ms Kirby, Mrs Beggs and Mr Adams encouraged Wagga residents to support local businesses.
"Shop local. It makes a huge difference for us," Ms Kirby said.
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