The Express took to the streets at lunchtime on Thursday to ask residents what they thought about the new rules for accessing non-essential services.
This week, new restrictions that prohibit anyone not fully vaccinated from entering many Armidale businesses and hospitality venues came into place.
The sentiment from those working in the 'non-essential' regional business community is that the expected downturn in trade now they can only host those who have had two shots is unfair, and responsibility for enforcement of the regulations is unclear.
And although social media is awash with comments of frustration and confusion regarding the new rules, New England Police District Chief Inspector David Cooper said there had been no incidents, and the focus of the police would be on educating the community about what is required.
But in Beardy Street Mall, most people we approached were willing to have the rules imposed on them if it meant more people getting vaccinated.
Reece Dogan works in retail and said he was 'quite happy' with the added protection the public health order gave him.
However, some people voiced concern about imminent travel to the region and the ability of regional people to get access to two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine before the new rules were introduced.
Lisa Ward said she thought Armidale Hospital already relied heavily upon out-of-town medical staff to run its emergency department.
"They haven't got enough people to be able to cope with it," she said of a potential COVID-19 outbreak caused by tourism.
With a partner who was not eligible to be vaccinated early on, disability worker Les Morton said he doesn't think the government has thought about regional vaccine accessibility issues.
"For vulnerable people, it has been a job well done, but for people who could not access the vaccine earlier or who were uncertain, the change from the staggered approach has been a bit disconcerting," he said.
Read more comments from those we spoke to in the photo gallery above.
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