New health orders are making life difficult for businesses

Studio 225 staff member Matilda McIver and owner Kate Russell with a client last week.

Many local business owners are confused, uneasy and unhappy about the new COVID regulations that came into effect this week that are barring unvaccinated customers from their premises.
A number have taken to using social media posts to explain how the changes to the Public Health Orders will affect their businesses and their clients.
Local hairdresser Kate Russell, who’s spent hours seeking advice about the changes from the Australian Hairdressing Council, Service NSW and State Member for Barwon Roy But-ler, said her social media posts have been help-ing to get the message out.
Kate said she doesn’t like the idea of turning away customers however businesses like hair-dressers which offer personal services, have tougher restrictions than most retail business-es.
“We need to get up close and personal with a client to do their hair and that means there’s a greater risk of the transmission of COVID,” Kate explained.
Earlier this year Kate had to close her busi-ness for a month and last year she was forced to close the salon for five weeks due to the pandemic.
“I hated being shut down and not able to work for weeks.
“I also hated each time I went into the super-market and saw lots of people who needed a haircut or a colour and I couldn’t help them.
“I’m a sole trader, I can’t afford to have to shut down if we have a COVID case or a close contact in the salon and I definitely can’t af-ford to pay the $5,000 fine for having an un-vaccinated person in the salon.
“I really can’t afford to be closed again as, like every other business, I have bills to pay.”
At first Kate said she hadn’t consider getting vaccinated.
“I thought I’m pretty healthy, I should be right. But then as things progressed and I learned more, I realised that I needed to be vaccinated, not only to protect myself, but to ensure I could continue to operate my busi-ness, and keep my clients safe.
“Me being vaccinated also protects my fami-ly,” Kate said.
“I’m not happy that I’m in the position where I have to tell people they can’t come into the salon, but that choice is not mine—I’m just following the Public Health Orders which are meant to keep the public safe.” Cobar Business Association president Sha-ron Harland said the new rules set down by the NSW Government are different to what every-one has been “traditionally used to” and some people will not agree with the rules.
“It’s probably a bit harder for us here in Co-bar to get our heads around it, as unlike Syd-ney or Dubbo residents who have just come out of lockdown, all of Cobar’s residents have had a certain degree of freedom for the past month.
“We’ve been able to visit pubs and clubs, go to restaurants, hairdressers and the gym but now under the new Public Health Orders that will only apply to people who are double vac-cinated,” Mrs Harland said.
“There’s a lot of information out there and some of it is conflicting information. Please understand however that local businesses and their staff did not make these rules, however they are required to comply with them.”