The business community has used an online forum to ask questions and seek clarification of the state government's COVID-19 roadmap.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan spoke to more than 150 people on Monday in an online forum organised by Be.Bendigo and addressed questions about hospitality restrictions and regional case numbers.
Premier Daniel Andrews outlined Victoria's roadmap last Sunday.
Regional Victoria, currently in step two until September 13, requires a daily average number of cases of less than five and zero cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days, to graduate to step three.
Step three will include no restrictions on leaving home and a return to school, but some restrictions on hospitality will remain.
"The current regional Victoria 14 day average is 5.57 cases," Ms Allan said.
"We are really, really close to moving to that third step and affire aiming at the end of November to have no new cases."
In step three, the hospitality sector will be able to offer "predominately outdoor seated service only."
Ms Allan said this decision was "one of the hardest as part of the different levels of restrictions."
"It is about the way this virus moves around the community and how indoor activity has been a real issue," she said.
"There is a concern from health professionals that indoor seated activity causes a risk."
Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson has voiced concern about the state government's roadmap, calling it a "crushing blow for Victorians."
"I fear that many cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops will still be closed at Christmas," Senator Henderson said.
"Victorians have every right to question this unreasonable elimination strategy, which is not supported by expert medical advice."
The last step of the government's plan, implemented on November 23 at the earliest, requires no new cases for 14 days across Victoria.
There will be no restrictions in place during the COVID Normal step, which requires no new cases for 28 days.
Senator Henderson said the health restrictions must be reasonable and proportionate to the public health risk.
"Regional Victorians have every right to be angry about onerous restrictions in parts of the state where there are no or few active cases."
The Dispenary owner Finn Vedelsby said government processes need to be streamlined to adapt quicker to changing restrictions.
At the onset of the pandemic, Mr Vedelsby said he was going to apply for an extension of his liquor serving area with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
"It takes at least 10 weeks for it to go through their system and we have to get council and police approval for any adjustment to an existing licence," Mr Vedelsby said.
Restrictions on indoor dining have the potential to cripple already haemorrhaging businesses, Mr Vedelsby said.
"The onus is on all of us to be diligent because now we have targets to aim for," he said.
The Chancery Lane venue invested heavily in a COVID plan, devised by external consultants, Mr Vedelsby said.
"We bent over backwards and spent tens of thousands of dollars on being able to open for a quarter of our capacity.
"In Bendigo, our diligence has paid off, because Bendigo's case numbers are magnificent."
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said the government must continue to support local businesses and workers who have lost their jobs.
"Central Victorians need a government that understands we're doing it tough," Ms Chesters said.
Nationals Leader Peter Walsh said the one-size-fits-all approach out of lockdown will kill jobs, businesses and regional economies, while Member for Ripon Louise Staley said 31 regional local government areas have not had a new COVID-19 case for at least three weeks.
"Most of country Victoria hasn't seen a new case for at least 14 days," Ms Staley said.
"We need to reopen restaurants, small businesses and shuttered shops.
"It's time to let regional Victorians with no new COVID-19 cases for 14 days live again."
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