TOURISM operators will have to keep waiting for certainty under fresh roadmaps released today for Victoria.
They are among groups with no solid date yet for scaling back up.
In Elmore, miniature railway owner Peter Willsher said he'd love to reopen but remained positive.
"If waiting is the safe thing to do, that's what we will do," he said.
"We just need to keep being patient until we open again."
The railway will reopen once public gatherings of 20 are allowed, with arrangements to make sure people are safely distanced.
That will likely be during a step three reopening.
The state government has not given an indication when regional Victoria could go into step three, though some restrictions could ease as early as next weekend.
Chief medical officer Brett Sutton said travel restrictions between Melbourne and regional Victoria would stay in place until both areas reached the same step.
He currently expects Melbourne to be a step behind regional Victoria for some time yet because of the disproportionate way the state's capital was affected by the second wave of infections.
"We went into the second wave without regional Victoria having cases, and all of the cases that have occurred in regional Victoria have occurred in metropolitan Melbourne," professor Sutton said.
"So as we are controlling things here in metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria is on a much better footing."
Melbourne's lockdown is expected to be at least one step behind regional Victoria's for some time, though that will depend on rates of infections in areas currently under step four restrictions, professor Sutton said.
"Certainly, the pace at which regional Victoria gets to very low case numbers will likely mean it is ahead of metropolitan Melbourne," he said.
"If we can get to that average of five cases per day for a 14 day period and no cases of unknown acquisition or mystery cases as we call them, then we will all be on the same setting, and will continue on that setting."
The City of Greater Bendigo is yet to publicly react to Sunday's announcement, though it could do so after a debrief on Monday.
Council directors are understood to be planning to meet remotely to discuss what the new roadmap could mean for services.
Many of the council's services have been impacted by the pandemic and there is a risk that ongoing economic pressures could drive up the number of people needing rate relief.
The council released a new hardship plan during the fist wave of infections and has not ruled out mid-year budget changes depending on how the pandemic plays out.
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said reopening was taking longer than everyone had hoped but that the state government's plan clearly had been designed with a strong public health component that would be sustainable.
"I'm pleased that the state is taking a two roadmap approach," he said, referring to Melbourne and regional Victoria's plans.
"I do recognise it is still going to be difficult for many, many people."
Greater Bendigo now has just four active cases, the same number it had in the days before infection rates exploded into the second wave.
Assuming there are no more cases, the area could be COVID-19 free within seven to 10 days, Mr Faulkner said.
However, the risk of unlocking will increase the risk of infection, he warned.
"It requires us to still do all the right things."
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan echoed that sentiment.
The senior government minister has been central to the state's pandemic response after being appointed to a small crisis council of cabinet.
"We've got an opportunity to move through these steps more quickly (than Melbourne)," she said.
People would need to keep getting tested, Ms Allan said. She said it would be critical that people keep getting tested even if they have the mildest of symptoms.
Ms Allan said health factors would steer the roadmap, rather than economic ones.
"We know the numbers can go up very quickly. We saw that through July and August," she said.
"The numbers are coming back down but we also know just a few cases a day can lead to a massive spike if they get into larger group settings."
Ms Allan said the government had tried to allow businesses to stay open where possible, as had happened in most of regional Victoria during the second wave.
"Hopefully we can reach this third step quickly and start to see a further easing of restrictions," she said.
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