Families are once again reunited, and businesses can see some light at the end of the tunnel; however, border communities say there's still a ways to go before things return to "normal".
The Victoria and South Australia border reopened on Tuesday, with a permit system in place for travellers crossing in either direction.
It was welcome news for Nhill Oasis Motel manager Simon Carter, who said he "could've sold rooms 10 times over" on Monday night as Victorians prepared to cross the border en masse on Tuesday morning.
The border reopening also offered Mr Carter something far more important: the chance to reconnect with his wife, who lives in South Australia, and whom he hasn't seen since July.
He said it gave him a reason to smile.
"It's been hard, and if you had have asked me a couple of weeks ago before the border opened, I wouldn't have been so happy," Mr Carter said.
"But now I can sort of look back and think, 'Wow, we got through that'. We can look ahead now to getting back somewhere close to normal.
"It's a real relief."
Mr Carter, however, said apart from Monday night, it had been a somewhat slow return to consistent business.
He said pre-COVID, approximately 90 per cent of his patrons were interstate travellers, and 30 per cent were international travellers.
"Hopefully we're going to start to see a big difference soon," he said.
"It will be good to get those Melbourne and Adelaide people back travelling between the two places for sport and things like that.
"But regardless, it's just nice to look out and see cars travelling on the highway - it's been eight months of only trucks."
Border Inn's Rob Carberry was also waiting for the return of consistent business to his Apsley hotel.
"Generally speaking, about 40 per cent of our business used to come from South Australians," he said.
"With SA being able to have dine-in basically right through the whole year, a lot of people are now used to going to those venues. So we've got to coax them back across the border.
"It might take a little while before they start travelling this way consistently again."
Mr Carberry said the permit system had also added a layer of difficulty.
Travellers must apply for permits before crossing the border, a process to help contact tracing if there were a COVID-outbreak in either state.
Although the applications only take "around five minutes", Mr Careberry said it was a slight barrier.
"It's still a bit of a hiccup," he said. "I think the general tourist traffic hasn't started just yet.
"Once people can get in the car and just drive, rather than having to get through the process of getting a permit to cross the border, I think we'll see a lot more traffic coming through.
"Right now, it's just a little extra mental barrier."
West Wimmera mayor Bruce Meyer said it was a "relief" to have the border reopened, but that it was still "a long way from normal".
"It's an improvement - it's a start - but it's really only a start. It's going to take quite a long time to get back to normal again," he said.
"I think there's still a reluctance for people to be travelling, but that will improve around Christmas time and through January, as people are looking to holiday in SA and vice versa.
"But my feeling is it will take another two or three weeks before there is a dramatic pick up."
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