Members of Bendigo's tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors have welcomed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in regional Victoria.
The Third Step of the COVID-19 roadmap includes no restrictions on reasons to leave home, with intrastate travel permitted within the regions.
Motelier and owner of Julie-Anna Inn Kristyn Slattery said it's the step those in the industry have been waiting for.
"For a lot of us, it's like starting from scratch," Ms Slattery said.
"It's a positive step, but there's so much uncertainty for us and it relies on people being comfortable to travel."
Bendigo Tourism Board chair Finn Vedelsby said the new restrictions, in effect from 11.59pm tonight, mean a great deal to local businesses, but the hard work is still to come.
"It's expensive to set up a business in the first place and there are plenty of challenges to negotiate," Mr Vedelsby said.
"Not having tourism from Melbourne is massive, they call it the Calder Corridor.
"Without that contribution to our visitor economy, we will rely on visitors from other parts of the state and that's great, because Bendigo has a lot to offer."
Hospitality venues will be permitted to seat up to 10 diners inside, in a maximum of two areas, for no more than two hours.
Alium Dining owner Mark Brennan said his restaurant is hoping to expand its outdoor dining space to accommodate more diners.
"I think we can do it safely and effectively, but it requires Bendigo council to agree," Mr Brennan said of the prospect of using nearby road as dining space.
"We have to source tables, chairs, umbrellas and it would be a significant financial commitment to try and make it work."
Mr Vedelsby said Bendigo council has been quick to react to requests for increased outdoor dining provisions.
"There are some practical challenges each individual business has in their fiscal planning around more outdoor dining," he said.
"It's labour intensive and expensive to purchase extra furniture."
Innovation will be at the heart of welcoming diners back to Bendigo's tables, with Mr Brennan pointing to a UK government stimulus package, which offered a 50 per cent subsidy on restaurant meals, post lockdown.
Checkpoints between regional Victoria and Melbourne would be strengthened, as Premier Daniel Andrews urged Melburnians not to travel to the regions.
"You cannot be travelling to regional Victoria unless you absolutely need to," Mr Andrews said.
The obligation to verify the origin of a booking adds another level of pressure to business owners, Ms Slattery said.
"We are all under significant financial, mental and physical pressure," she said.
"Having security checks takes away the warm, welcoming side of things and can put us as moteliers at the front line and in a vulnerable position."
The verification question is incorporated in every businesses COVID-19 plan, Mr Vedelsby said.
"It is something that's very hard to do and we aren't trained as individuals to do," Mr Vedelsby said.
"Locals and visitors alike have said it makes them feel safer and that's the priority."
Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan said she understands visitors to Bendigo from Melbourne is a concern.
"That is why we will be strengthening enforcement of the road checkpoints and there are fines in place for people breaching restrictions," Ms Allan said.