It's been a confusing and no doubt frustrating few weeks for many in the Bega Valley, not least for our local businesses.
While we've been out of lockdown since mid-September, the week the rest of the state joined us saw a return to lockdown for anyone not fully vaccinated.
It also saw new rules imposed on businesses keen to get their registers ringing again by limiting who they could serve and putting onerous requirements on staff to check the vaccine status of customers - info not all of whom appear happy to divulge.
It's no surprise then that some businesses have taken it on themselves to remain closed, or click and collect only, until the state government allows everyone regardless of vaccine status to head back into society.
The terms 'discrimination' and 'segregation' are being bandied about, likely by people with no real idea about what they actually mean in regards to our nation's history. A few weeks of not being allowed to have a pub parmi or a haircut hardly compares to generations of mistreatment of our fellow humans.
But you do have to feel for small business owners as they negotiate the new 'roadmap' and rules that could quite possibly see them out of business should the flagged penalties be imposed.
Let's be kind to each other, and support local business by getting back out there and shopping locally - if we are permitted to and following all the health safety rules and advice.
Keep an eye on our website for our new Back in Business series of articles discussing the challenges and successes of local small business emerging from the pandemic.
It may be hard to share a smile from behind a facemask, but a kind word and some patience and understanding goes a very long way.
Ben Smyth, Editor