Vaccinated residents of the capital and other parts of the state will be returning en masse to their favorite cafes and restaurants today for the first time in months.
Hair and beauty salon workers expect to be overwhelmed as people try their best for a suddenly widened social circle beyond Zoom calls and small picnics.
Gyms are bracing for a stampede of people looking to make up for a few foreclosure indulgences, and non-essential businesses of all kinds are eager to welcome customers to stores.
Most of the big changes in Sydney life won’t be apparent until the sun rises on so-called ‘Freedom Day’, but some were wasting no time.
Hairstylist Alan Buki said today that he’s accepting his first client in months at 12:01 am tonight – and is full until 9pm tomorrow.
“After almost four months, the show is finally opening,” he said.
“The store is out of control and the energy is contagious.”
Midnight is a late touch to try for a dinner reservation, but all-night classics such as Maisys 24 Hour Eatery in Neutral Bay are good to go.
And for party-goers who don’t have to worry about work in the morning, the city’s bars and pubs have been happy to serve up pints and mix cocktails again after so long.
The Toongabbie Sports Club in the west of the city opened at midnight in a move, according to CEO Andrew Lauridsen, which aimed to restore the community’s connection.
“It’s a party, it’s a welcome return, it’s a come have a beer with your friends,” he told 9News.
“And I think this companionship, this Australian companionship was really missing back then and it will be so nice to see it again.”
It’s also good news for shoppers who are in desperate need of a bit of browsing rather than just clicking and collecting, as Kmart is once again welcoming customers.
Amid all the excitement, many questions remain as to what will follow.
It’s unclear what effect reopening, even with more than 70% of people aged 16 and over doubly vaccinated, will have on the spread of the virus.
And some companies have expressed concern about how they might ward off potential unvaccinated customers in an aggravated situation.
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet urged his constituents to treat each other with kindness and respect, acknowledging the “challenges” that awaited them in the coming days.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard has warned people should continue to be careful.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic,” Hazzard said.
“Appreciate what we’ve all worked very, very hard for, but just be careful.”