Beauty salon owner Michelle Grove was celebrating on Sunday after the NSW government announced the industry could reopen on June 1 after 10 weeks of coronavirus lockdown.
Ms Grove, who owns Indulgences at The Junction, said the business would emerge from enforced hibernation in good shape because of a healthy online trade and the federal government's JobKeeper program.
"We closed the doors, but we then pretty quickly got our online store up and running," she said. "I've got 10 staff, and everybody went straight to JobKeeper.
"All in all the experience has not been horrendous, but we are still overjoyed to be opening back up."
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday that he was relieved to announce the salons' reopening.
"Of all of the requests I've had as Health Minister in the last three months, this has been the one that I think has topped the barrel," he said.
"I've even had text messages in the middle of the other meetings, telling me how bad acrylic nails were. I didn't even know there was such a thing as acrylic nails, but I'm very pleased to say that they are now open."
Ms Grove said salons were a valuable social outlet and the reopening was an important step towards a return to normality for many people.
"We've got a long wait list of people wanting to come back, which is reassuring.
"The support that's been shown from our clients, even people purchasing retail who wouldn't normally or people buying vouchers so they're giving us an income, has been quite lovely.
"I don't feel that we'll be impacted that badly from a business point of view."
The Hunter has not recorded a new coronavirus case in the 11 days since the state government started to ease restrictions on gatherings and is now approaching five weeks without a positive test.
Hunter New England Health last reported a confirmed case 33 days ago.
From May 15, the government allowed public gatherings of 10 people, five visitors at a time in households and 10 people seated in cafes and restaurants.
The increased movement and contact has yet to translate to renewed transmission of the virus in the Hunter.
Most school students will return to full-time classes from today, and from June 1 regional travel will resume, cafes, restaurants and pubs can have 50 patrons, and libraries, museums, galleries and zoos will reopen.
HNEH has found 278 COVID-19 cases, or one in 200 of the 52,000 people tested, since the pandemic reached Australia in January. The 0.53 per cent positive test rate is below the state rate of 0.75 per cent. The district has 29 cases per 100,000 people, below the NSW rate of 38.