BENDIGO's economy clawed back half its losses at the start of a recovery that has now been dashed by new COVID-19 restrictions.
Businesses had been able to add an estimated $141 million dollars to output in June after a $282 million hit in May, newly released REMPLAN data has revealed.
It is the second month-by-month breakdown of figures the consultancy hopes will guide councils and industries through the recovery.
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That recovery appears to have knocked back to square one in July as COVID-19 outbreaks, border closures and incoming restrictions tighten their grip on the economy.
REMPLAN is yet to release data for July or give an indication of what it is expecting in this new shutdown.
But yesterday, chicken producer Hazeldenes announced it was closing part of a farm in Lockwood following a worker's positive test.
Later in the day, premier Daniel Andrews announced central Victorian abattoirs will be subject to the same stringent restrictions as Melbourne's.
After the announcement, Bendigo Tourism Board chair Fin Vedeslby said he was expecting significant hits to trade at eateries forced back into deliveries-only. He expected any trade recovered in accommodation during the recovery to be devastated.
REMPLAN's June figures showed some of the hardest hit industries were building back output.
They include the arts and recreational services industry, which the month before had lost 44 per cent of its value.
By the end of June, the industry had grown to 80 per cent of the $11 million recorded before the pandemic arrived. Retailers had reclaimed about $10 million of the $20 million they had lost by May.
The Bendigo Advertiser contacted multiple economists in July for stories on the economy and they gave increasingly dark assessments as the month rolled on.
REMPLAN's chief economist Matthew Nichol was among them.
He had been disheartened by the scale of losses governments were revealing in their mid-year economic forecasts, and that they were so close to the pessimistic predictions his agency had been making.
"From the outset, we were of the view that the impacts would be deep and very much widespread," Mr Nichol said.
He was among economists who were closely watching border closures throughout the month, including those into central Victoria from Melbourne, the Mitchell Shire and New South Wales.
Even after a month of increasingly dire news on Victoria's recovery, economists are urging people to find reasons to be optimistic.
La Trobe University's Buly Cardack used an example from his own locked down Melbourne neighbourhood, where a cafe had found some success selling goods baked on the premises from the front door.
"Everything presents opportunities ... Humans have been so successful because of our creativity and innovative approach to problems. That's what's going to get us through," he said.
"It's easier said than done, but you can't leave people with no hope. There is hope. We have come through things like this before.
"Look how far we have come."
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