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NSW gets a taste of COVID-19 lockdown freedom

THAT'S FREEDOM: Brad Hunter, Leanne Thomas and Sebastian Martinez enjoy a beer on 'freedom day' at The Steyne in in Manly. Picture: Geoff Jones
THAT'S FREEDOM: Brad Hunter, Leanne Thomas and Sebastian Martinez enjoy a beer on 'freedom day' at The Steyne in in Manly. Picture: Geoff Jones

AFTER 106 days of lockdown, Freedom Day in NSW started early.

There have been queues outside barber shops, hairdressers and stores as residents rejoice in the chance for a haircut and the return to in-store shopping.

On NSW's northern beaches, a Mona Vale barber shop opened at 6am on Monday, with men patiently waiting in the rain outside to get their lockdown hairstyles tamed.

The sign on bright yellow cardboard in the shop's window, read "Open 11 Oct @ 6am" was all that was needed to entice back its customers.

Cafes, restaurants and pubs threw open their doors at long last to welcome back customers with seats snapped up quickly.

FREEDOM: Men were lining up outside a Mona Vale barber shop for a haircut at 6am on 'Freedom Day', Monday, October 11.

FREEDOM: Men were lining up outside a Mona Vale barber shop for a haircut at 6am on 'Freedom Day', Monday, October 11.

Manly MP James Griffin was among those keen for a beer on 'Freedom Day', so he joined locals at Manly Wharf Bar to mark the reopening of NSW by pouring the first beer.

"It's a great to see our lives starting to return to normal and fantastic to see the northern beaches have one of the highest and fastest vaccination rates in the world," he said.

"Like many people on the northern beaches, I am so excited to be able to visit family and friends again. I'm looking forward to celebrating my Mum's birthday this evening".

In the NSW Illawarra residents queued outside Kmart and were rewarded with huge bargains inside.

In the state's Hunter Valley the wet weather wasn't stopping people heading out.

Owner of Pony Hair Studio at The Junction, Emma Johnson, said she and three other stylists were just as excited as their clients to get back into the salon.

She said they would be working 12 hour days for the next fortnight to be able to see everyone who has had their appointments cancelled since the region's lockdown began on August 5.

"It will be crazy, I don't think I'm going to sleep for the next seven days," Ms Johnson said. "It's great, I think we're going to make up for the 10 weeks of being closed in probably the first week of opening."

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Back on the Northern Beaches and Taste Espresso Collaroy was keen to welcome back their diners, but asked people to be patient.

"We've come a long, long way together so, little by little here we go. Please be patient with each other and remember we didn't make the rules," the cafe posted to its Instagram page.

Manly Business Chamber urged people to come back to Manly now that COVID restrictions have eased.

"Include our Manly businesses - booking a restaurant, buying a gift, looking for a service, our tourism based economy still needs the love from the locals," the chamber posted to Instagram.

The chamber also called on people to be understanding of the NSW Government's rules around freedoms for vaccinated people.

"Remember our businesses aren't anti-vaxxers or pro-vaxxers, they are just pro-small business and pro serving our community. So if you're intention is to give any of these guys @&$t, just remember they are there to serve you, not take a serving."

This story Too early for a beer? Not on 'Freedom Day' first appeared on Northern Beaches Review.