Towns which have had no COVID-19 cases are pleading with outsiders to respect vulnerable communities when regional travel resumes on Monday.
Tea Gardens RSL member Lois McShane said residents were nervous about the likely influx of visitors.
"Very hesitant," Ms McShane said about the mood in the town.
"It's something we haven't had to deal with very much because most of us don't go out of town very much. We're pretty safe here."
The coastal hamlet and neighbouring Hawks Nest have a median age of 63, the highest in the nation at the last Census, and has not had a case during the latest outbreak of the highly infectious delta virus variant.
Ms McShane, who has a work background in immunology, said many visitors already appeared to be flouting stay-at-home rules.
"Most of us have been vaccinated, but we've had visitors from all over the place coming into town, especially over the long weekend. I'm pretty annoyed about it.
"You know your own town cars, and there are cars here that are far too expensive and lavish to have been local."
Fully vaccinated people from Greater Sydney will not be allowed to travel to towns like Tea Gardens until the Monday after NSW reaches its second double-dose adult vaccination target of 80 per cent. At current rates, this is just one week away.
Vaccinated residents in the rest of the Hunter, where the local health service reported a record 97 cases on Friday, will be able to travel freely from Monday. They will also be able to bring their unvaccinated children with them.
"Some of my friends who are much older than I am are a little bit worried because they're not sure how they'll go," Ms McShane said.
"This is a fairly popular holiday spot. Half the houses would be absentee landlords, so there's a lot of houses to let."
She said the community, especially businesses, did not expect people to stay away altogether but asked them to follow the rules.
"They may be vaccinated, but they can still transmit virus.
"I would say please respect other people's wishes when you come to a place which is fairly safe at the moment.
"It will work as long as people do what the health department regulations say they should do.
"A lot of people are ignoring it and saying it's not all that bad and we don't need to wear masks, we don't need to social distance and we don't need to stay home if we've got a cold."
Dungog mayor John Connors said his community had mixed views about the reopening, depending largely on their age and whether they owned a business.
"Some think it's great to get back on track and business back, but there's fear it might create an influx of COVID," he said.
"We've had virtually none. A couple way back in March last year."
Dungog, home to a mountain bike park popular with visitors and a gateway town to Barrington Tops National Park, had a 58 per cent double-dose vaccination rate in the latest data on Monday.
The vaccines take up to three weeks to become fully effective, and fewer than half the shire's adults were fully vaccinated three weeks ago.
NSW reached a double-dose rate of 71.5 per cent on Thursday, up 6.3 points in a week. If the pace of the rollout continues, the state will reach 80 per cent on Saturday, October 16.
Cr Connors said he hoped visitors would follow mask and distancing rules to help protect local people.
Ken Rubeli, who lives outside Dungog on the edge of the national park, said it was "inevitable" the virus would arrive in the town.
"From the town's perspective, visitors are coming from where the virus is and we are where the virus isn't," he said.
"If people are absolutely religious about walking around with a mask on, that will help the spirits of the local community.
"We won't feel quite so threatened."
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