As of Monday 12 October 2021, NSW businesses start the long road back from lockdown. In Regional NSW, especially in areas that have been out of lockdown, this transition for many businesses will require a new level of compliance regarding the mandatory vaccination status or valid exemption certificates of customers aged over 16.

The President of the Parkes Chamber of Commerce Geoff Rice said, "In Regional NSW, we have been lucky enough to have been open for the past few weeks whilst other areas in the state have been in lockdown. However, from today our businesses will become aligned with the rest of NSW as the state reopens.

"This means that from Monday 11 October, non-essential retail businesses will need to ensure that customers are double vaccinated, and staff members have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and are fully vaccinated by 1 November 2021.

The NSW Government is updating the Service NSW app to link the digital COVID-19 vaccination certification, which will simplify the process. This update is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

"In the meantime, you will need to manually check for not only the QR code check in, but for the customer's COVID-19 proof of vaccination as well," said Mr Rice.

"It's been such a difficult time for businesses across the state, especially in those business categories hit hardest by the pandemic. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to provide support and guidance to our local business community where we can, to ensure that we collectively remain committed to ensuring the safety of our community, whilst safeguarding the strength and resilience of our businesses," added Mr Rice.

Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said that the key takeaway for businesses following these changes is to do all that they can do to follow the rules. This includes creating a new CovidSafe plan, displaying the relevant signage and asking for proof of vaccination and the QR code check in upon entry.

"We understand that this is a challenging time for everyone, but we ask our community to practice kindness and patience as our businesses are only following the direction of the NSW Government," said the Mayor.

For businesses who need advice or support regarding these changes, please reach out to the NSW Business Chamber, Services NSW or visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/businesses-and-employment/covid-safe-business.