Greater Port Macquarie has plenty of choices when it comes to our dining scene.
So why not make a conscious choice to support our eateries during this quieter time?
Residents are encouraged to become a tourist in their own backyard and support businesses, while following COVID rules.
That will help our businesses as travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW is off the table until November 1 to allow people in the regions more time to receive their second COVID vaccine.
Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association president Janette Hyde is promoting the holiday at home message, while staying within the COVID regulations, and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has reminded residents about the importance of supporting local businesses.
Chop 'n Chill corporate operations manager Marc Strachan echoed that sentiment.
"We hope that Port Macquarie goes back to the way it was as a major tourist hub, and in the short-term until we get back to some normality, for all the businesses to survive we will require everyone to come out in force and support us," he said.
"The town is definitely missing out on tourists."
Chop 'n Chill has been thankful for the support of its regular customers.
"We have a rather loyal fan base and they have been supporting us all the way through," Mr Strachan said.
"I can't thank them enough."
Mr Strachan said the priority was making the staff and diners feel safe.
Cafe owner is thankful for local support
Bittersweet Cafe Patisserie experienced ongoing support from Lighthouse Beach residents and other locals during the COVID lockdowns when the business adapted to a takeaway model.
Owner Georgia Dunn said the cafe had benefited from its location in a residential area.
But the tourists have not been in the mix.
The local support of the cafe continues as the state looks to rebuild the economy with a recovery roadmap in place.
"Thank goodness for the locals," Mrs Dunn said.
"We rely on the locals to keep coming, especially with word of mouth."
Mrs Dunn said Port Macquarie needed local support to keep the town thriving.
"We still need the locals to feel like they are needed and wanted, because they are," she said.
Don't be afraid to go out and back our businesses
The Co Cafe has felt the brunt of lockdowns, a lack of tourists and hesitancy among many residents including the elderly.
The cafe is relying on local trade.
Cafe owner Glenn Parker said: "It's a tourist town and without the tourists, everybody struggles."
He encouraged residents not to be afraid to get out and support local businesses.
"Spend a bit of money, it doesn't have to be a lot," Mr Parker said.
"Spread out and have a look around."
Local support is a two-way street
Laurieton United Services Club is doing its bit to support local businesses during the pandemic.
The club's general manager, Rob Dwyer, said the club understood how integral small businesses were in our community and their importance with employment and social inclusion.
The club had a weekly raffle during lockdown, with vouchers up for grabs from businesses in a show of local support, which continues in a hybrid format.
Mr Dwyer also acknowledged the residents' support of the club.
"Without the ongoing support of club members and patronage, we couldn't be here for the community, and we are very grateful for that," he said.
"Their patronage helps drive the business."
Be kind and put yourself in the position of business owners
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is reminding residents about the importance of supporting local as the state follows the government's reopening roadmap.
Council's group manager of economic and cultural development Liesa Davies said the next few weeks would be difficult for many businesses.
"Local businesses have already endured a difficult two years, dealing with the impacts of bushfires, the floods, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
"A lot of the regulation of the NSW roadmap sits with businesses, which places enormous pressure on them.
"As we all adjust to the new rules, it's important to put ourselves in the position of local business owners, and to be kind and patient with staff who are doing their best to do their jobs and implement the rules of the new public health orders."
Council has collated 10 tips to support local businesses during this time, which includes advice for supporting from home or when visiting in store.
The support local guide is on the council's website.
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