Cafes across the Macleay will be able to return to a more normal business model from tomorrow when COVID-19 restrictions are eased slightly.
Under stage one, restaurants and cafes will be able to seat up to 10 people as long as they abide by the one person per four square metres rule. For some small venues, this may mean only two or three people are able to be inside.
At Mike's Place in Kempsey will once again be welcoming customers to their seating area from Friday. Like many other cafes and restaurants, At Mike's Place have only been able to offer takeaway meals and coffees since the restrictions were placed on hospitality businesses.
We had to start introducing takeaway meals so that we had more to offer for locals. We didn't want to be out of sight or out of mind.Mike Lee
"It has been frustrating for us, but I made the decision to stay open so that I could keep my only casual worker on during the pandemic," owner Mike Lee said.
"We had to start introducing takeaway meals so that we had more to offer for locals. We didn't want to be out of sight or out of mind."
Mike began taking orders for lunch and dinner takeaway meals on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays.
"On a number of days we were pretty much opening for nothing, we would make two coffees all day, so the takeaway lunch and dinner idea was something we could do differently and offer meals cooked from scratch for locals," Mike said.
From Friday, At Mike's Place will be able to seat up to 10 people, something Mike is hoping locals will get on board with.
"It would be great for all cafes and restaurants that have been impacted like we have to get bums on seats, even though there are still some restrictions. It will be a boost to businesses.
"I think people are getting sick of staying at home all the time and now they will be able to at least get out, do some people watching and enjoy a coffee."
It was announced yesterday that pubs and clubs will join cafes and restaurants in providing dining as part of the state government's push to boost the economy.
Bars and gaming facilities will remain closed but table service for alcohol with a meal will be allowed, along with takeaway services.