Wollongong council's planned food truck trial is a "slap in the face" for established business, said a Stanwell Park cafe owner.
Kat Erskine runs Iluwatu Blue in the small northern suburb and has had a rough trot over the last two years.
First the bushfires kept southern Sydney customers away as they thought the area was burning. Then the first COVID lockdown happened, followed by a two-month closure of Lawrence Hargrave Drive for roadworks.
Not long after was the second lockdown, which saw her shut up shop and ride it out.
Now with the light visible at the end of the tunnel, council is planning to allow food trucks to park at the beach just a few hundred metres away from her cafe.
"I just think it's terrible especially for us in the northern suburbs," Ms Erskine said.
"After they shut the road and they know how hard we've been doing it. We've been doing it tough up here with what's been happening - I think it's really mean, it's really terrible."
She said other businesses in Stanwell Park and nearby suburbs were also unhappy with the council's decision.
"It'll definitely affect our business," she said.
"If you're at the beach people won't want to walk up - and it's the same thing at Coledale. I'm probably lucky because I've been here for five years and hopefully I'll have some return people."
A Wollongong council spokeswoman said they were aware of the impact COVID has had on the community.
"We recognise that the previous bushfires and COVID-19 lockdowns have had a significant impact on all local businesses, including those located in Stanwell Park," she said.
She noted council had created a COVID assistance package in August for ratepayers, businesses and community organisations affected by COVID.
"This is a challenging time for local businesses and our focus is, and continues to be supporting a range of options that benefit all types of businesses," she said.
"We've seen a number of traditionally brick and mortar businesses diversify into mobile food vending as a way to expand their business."
She encouraged all businesses to provide feedback on the trial through the Our Wollongong website.