IT MAY be a different dining experience to what many in the Clarence are used to, but the NSW Government's easing of restrictions to allow up to 10 people to enjoy sit-down meals at a time from this weekend was a welcome return to some degree of normality.
On Sunday morning friends Jennele Buckley and Jo Cooke were at their favourite cafe, Botero Maclean, and said the opportunity for a simple cup of coffee, once taken for granted, was now a "privilege".
"To have a lovely cup of coffee in a real mug and we didn't have to make it ourselves, it's a luxury," Ms Cooke said.
"It's been a while coming, and it's something that we definitely don't take for granted now."
Ms Buckley said she initially had some hesitations over how establishments would enforce their dining restrictions, but praised the staff at Botero for their work in keeping to the limits.
"They've done a fantastic job, I did wonder how it would all work but it all seems to be going well," she said.
The Brushgrove Hotel is one pub in the Clarence that has benefited from the state government's last-minute decision to include pubs on the list of establishments able to cater for seated diners.
The pub now has four hourly timeslots to accommodate diners, and have been close to booked solid since offering the option on Friday night.
On Saturday night Townsend couple Edward and Leah Buckland were among the ten booked in for 6.30pm, and they said the chance to go for a night out was something they'd both been looking forward to for some time.
Between Mr Buckland's work as a nurse and Mrs Buckland's job as a teacher, they said the weekends were their main chance to spend quality time together.
"Just being able to have some semblance of normality is great," Mrs Buckland said.
"It's a big thing for us to go out of a weekend, we don't see each other much during the week and we both like to go out so as soon as we saw it advertised on Facebook that the hotel was allowed to have people sit down for a meal we booked a table."