A delay to regional travel for Sydneysiders until the state reaches the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination target will protect our region, a tourism leader says.
Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association president Janette Hyde said the region had managed to avoid a COVID outbreak over the past 18 months with lockdowns when travel was limited to essential workers.
She praised tourism operators for their diligence in applying the COVID restrictions.
"I know how conscientious the accommodation providers are about following the rules," Mrs Hyde said.
The state government has released its roadmap to ease restrictions for the fully vaccinated at the 80 per cent double-dose target.
Adjustments were made to the 70 per cent roadmap, given updated health advice.
Travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW will be permitted when the state reaches 80 per cent double-dose.
The level had previously been set at 70 per cent.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the change was necessary to give some regional areas the time they needed to increase vaccination rates.
Oxley Cove Apartments manager Annette Middleton welcomed the move.
"We have been very lucky up here," she said.
"We could have been Dubbo."
Mrs Middleton said Port Macquarie would be "smashed" with tourists when the state reached the 80 per cent double-dose rate, which was wonderful, but visitors needed to follow the COVID rules.
Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce president Michael Mowle said the shift to the 80 per cent double-dose rate before allowing Sydneysiders to travel to the regions was a cautious approach from the government.
The 80 per cent fully vaccinated target is expected about a fortnight after the state hits the 70 per cent rate.
"It gives us the chance to get ready for it," Mr Mowle said.
"We are looking forward to those visitors because it will have an impact on the tourism and hospitality sector but we need to look closely at those roadmap conditions."
He urged people to get vaccinated.
"Vaccination is the number one protection we can offer to each other," Mr Mowle said.
Town Beach Motor Inn owner Peter Conliffe opposes the decision to delay opening up regional travel until the 80 per cent double-dose threshold is reached.
"This will be devastating for our town as most businesses are heavily dependent upon tourists," he said.
"Many businesses, from accommodation to restaurants to takeaway food to boats to hairdressers, depend upon people from outside the town to earn a living."
Julie Robertson from Macquarie Barracks Motor Inn questioned why the regional travel goalposts had shifted for Sydneysiders.
But Mrs Robertson said the safer we are, the better.
"The sooner we get out of it, the better but we have to do it in a safe way," she said.
Julie and Brad Robertson bought the Hastings River Drive motor inn in December 2019 and the pandemic has heavily impacted the business.
"We don't know what it is like to have a normal business," Mrs Robertson said.
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