Drive through Bendigo or any smaller country town in the region and the clearest sign of different times is the closed cafes, pubs and retail outlets, and the sharp decline in the number of people out on the streets.
The experience of our pubs, clubs and eateries presents a stark case-in-point of the more widespread challenge so many face in trying, at some stage, to return to a new kind of normality.
Restrictions have started to ease, even if the inconsistency between states - something inconsequential perhaps in the big capital cities - adds a degree of difficulty and confusion.
Many venues in the region's once thriving pub and cafe scene were plunged into a zero revenue stream literally overnight when restrictions were introduced.
For some, selling takeaway coffees provides a bit of cash, but it clearly isn't going to be anywhere near enough, for long enough.
Easing restrictions provides a bit of clear air to navigate a way through with more cash in the till, but it won't be easy for some time to come.
Changes that allow 10 patrons at a time through the doors for meal service will help, even if this won't necessarily cover much more than the costs that never go away such as utility bills and the rent.
But that's no reason to not see these changes as a positive that in the large will be embraced by the sector.
The need to maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future will remain a challenge for the business community, but it's one that cannot be avoided.
Our retailers are also slowly emerging from the pandemic-inspired halt to trading, with yesterday's confirmation Myer will re-open its iconic Bendigo store next week.
Perhaps this will inspire other traders, including those in the broader tourism sector, to consider their options and look at getting back to business sometime soon.
It should give the local retail industry some much needed confidence.
What is even more important is that our community does what it can to support local businesses n the weeks, months and years ahead.