Following news the Mid North Coast saw more job losses than any other region in Australia in the month following the COVID-19 outbreak, Business NSW has called on the State Government to relax restrictions in regional areas sooner than in Sydney.
Business NSW Mid North Coast regional manager, Kellon Beard, says with fewer cases in regional NSW, it makes sense to allow businesses to get back on their feet sooner.
"Bellingen should not be treated the same as Bondi," Mr Beard said.
"Where the risk of spread is lower, we need to fast-track the relaxation of restrictions so people can rebuild their lives and their businesses."
Mr Beard welcomed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's announcement today, May 22 that pubs, clubs and restaurants would be able to serve up to 50 people for seated dining from June 1.
"I think it's a great move by the State government," he said.
"It'll give restaurants an opportunity to make some money."
However, he still believed regional NSW shouldn't be subjected to the same restrictions as Sydney, given the significantly lower case numbers.
Despite the calls, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has shown considerable opposition to the idea, saying she had a "strong preference" to take a uniform approach across the State.
"If you're really serious about economic activity, it won't surprise you to hear me say that the less borders, the less number of rules, the better," she said.
But Mr Beard believed she might still change her mind.
"It's something I certainly think she's been considering," he said.
Regardless of the government's decision, Mr Beard believed the economic needs of the Mid North Coast needed to be prioritised to ensure the region didn't get left behind.
"No matter how quickly we lift travel restrictions or how long support measures last, the whole of the Mid North Coast needs a concerted effort to create an environment in which businesses can grow, employ people and ensure our youth have job opportunities in the future," he said.
"Each level of government has a role to play, working with the business community to tackle our unemployment problem."
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Manning River Times newsletter here.