Concerns are mounting in Cooma and Jindabyne over the start of the ski season, which could prove to be a double-edged sword for businesses.
While business owners wait for tourists to return so they can stay afloat after coronavirus lockdowns, the safety issue of having people converge on the region is also playing on their minds.
After a summer shrouded in smoke, businesses like Jodi Pedersen's Monchichi, a souvenir shop and winter clothing store in Jindabyne, are desperate for customers.
"Coming off the back of the bushfire season which we were all really hit hard by, from that then going straight into this, we're all struggling a little bit," Ms Pedersen said.
"We're getting through, I think most of us are just keeping our heads above water."
At this time of year, Ms Pedersen's shop would normally be swarming with seasonal snow workers from other parts of Australia and overseas. At the moment, with travel restricted, they're getting the odd visitor.
"We're a little bit nervous about having people come here from all over the place. We're nervous about getting a [virus] spike here," she said.
"If it happens, it's game over for us probably for the rest of the year. Think about all the people that have to travel through here. If we get a case in the supermarket and that closes down, it's our only supermarket."
Ms Pedersen said she's taking extra precautions given everyone who comes into her souvenir shop touches everything.
"After a few groups come through, we go around and clean and Glen 20 the shelves," she said.
At the Sundance bakery across the way, barista Austin Hoyle is busy making coffees. A sign on the door warns only 10 people are allowed in at once, and as the shop fills up people seem to be adhering to that rule and waiting outside for their turn.
"Obviously for a town that relies on tourism so much, it has affected a lot of people around here," Mr Hoyle said.
"It's hard to say what's going to happen or how they're going to do the winter season, but it's going to be a very Aussie-based season, that's for sure."
For the moment, the National Parks and Wildlife Service visitors centre remains closed in Jindabyne.
Just round the corner James Clark and dog Cenna wait outside a cafe for a takeaway lunch. Mr Clark's parents own Gravity Thredbo, a shop selling skis and clothing, and he's worked there since he was 15 years old.
The shop would normally be open year-round, but it hasn't been open much this year due to the "double whammy" of bushfires and the virus.
Mr Clark said he's looking forward to the season opening, but for the moment, the sales are mostly online.
"It's busy but in a different way. You're on the computer all day, which gets kind of old," he said.
In Cooma, about an hour and a half from the snowfields, the Alpine Hotel owners are taking the time to paint and do some maintenance around the place.
Michael and Kris Sharkey and their son Daniel have owned the place for seven and a half years.
While the bushfires took a huge toll on many of the surrounding towns, the Sharkeys had a boost in business during that time as many emergency service personnel were staged in Cooma.
"That was good in a way, it set us up for this," Mr Sharkey said.
"It would've been nice to sink that money into something else instead of keeping us afloat though."
Like many businesses, they've had to pivot very quickly from providing regular service to providing a very scaled-back offering of takeaway and food delivery as coronavirus caused lockdowns across the country.
They have been able to rehire five of their casuals just to keep up with the demand for deliveries, but their other staff are on JobKeeper payments.
Two kitchen staff on visas were unable to access government payments, so the Sharkeys will support them until the business is running as normal.
"We're down probably 85 per cent on normal weeks," Mr Sharkey said.
Mr Sharkey said they plan to reopen on June 1 and allow 50 people in. At that point they would have been shut for normal service for more than two months.
The sign on the board outside reads: "Still closed, for now!!!"
Mr Sharkey said they were lucky to have the community supporting them by buying takeaway meals and they had recently started doing growlers of takeaway beer.
There are three other pubs in town, two others doing takeaway and one that had remained closed throughout.
The Alpine Hotel also has 27 hotel rooms that are normally fully booked in winter, but they have to toss up the "risk versus benefit" in reopening those.
"The last thing we want is a surge of cases in Cooma which has been free of them since week two of the shutdown," Mr Sharkey said. He said the hospital wouldn't cope if any serious cases were diagnosed.
"It's the unknown. Who is coming and from where, and who might have what.
"If Australia had no cases, it would be happy days."