Mid North Coast residents have expressed mixed views after COVID-19 restrictions in NSW eased Wednesday, December 15.
The new rules mean NSW residents don't have to wear masks or check-in at most venues in the state.
The rules apply to all people, regardless of whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, in most settings.
Density limits will no longer apply and COVID-safe plans will be optional for businesses.
John Hincks said he will continue to wear a mask in most social settings.
"I wear a face shield or a full face mask so it will protect me from other people," he said.
"I'm going to continue to wear it when I go shopping, to restaurants, cafes or when I meet anyone who I don't know.
"I have a dear friend, who is very vulnerable and I have to be careful."
The emergence of the Omicron variant has also brought questions to light about whether more precautions should be taken, given its high level of transmission.
As of December 15, 110 cases of the Omicron variant had been confirmed, according to NSW Health.
Mr Hincks, a croquet club member, said people need to be cautious. About 80 of the club's members were required to be vaccinated to play croquet and all of them chose to do so, he said.
"It's very important that they are able to socialise because many live on their own and this is their network to connect with others," Mr Hincks said.
Jane Mason said it's great everyone is now able to come together to socialise, regardless if they are vaccinated or not.
"It's important that we continue to care for our vulnerable people and still also allow businesses to operate as normal," she said.
"I think we need to be able to move on and continue with our lives."
Another resident, Sarah Rohdich said NSW Health staff had a tough job and they were doing the best they could with the information they have on hand.
Business NSW regional manager Kellon Beard said the easing of COVID-19 restrictions is the early Christmas present business owners and their employees have been waiting for.
"A recent survey conducted by Business NSW found that 32 per cent of businesses, and 43 per cent of businesses in the visitor economy, stated their biggest challenge was ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19," he said.
However, Mr Beard has urged people to use common sense when it comes to supporting businesses.
"Especially in the lead up to Christmas where shops are busy and patience is easily lost," he said.
"Be respectful of staff, fellow shoppers and if a particular store is packed upon entry, it is best to return when it's not as busy, to ensure the health and safety of staff and fellow shoppers."
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