The region's tourism attractions must wait until the last step in Victoria's COVID-19 recovery roadmap to reopen their doors.
As retailers opened up and hospitality businesses welcomed diners back after lockdown, tourist operators classed as galleries or museums watched on waiting for November 23 when the last step can be taken if Victoria has seen zero new cases in the community for more than 14 days.
Bendigo Heritage Attractions chief executive James Reade said it was frustrating with the attraction being classed as a gallery or museum.
"We're getting phone calls asking when we will open," he said.
"We're ready to go as soon as we get the green light. Hopefully, Victorians continue to do the right thing and we will able to open (sooner).
"But it is going to be a balance between opening and being economically viable. We rely on the Melbourne market for profitably. It's important that, whatever we do, it is viable to open."
Bendigo Art Gallery director Jessica Bridgfoot said staff continued to work behind the scenes on producing exhibitions for the gallery as well as online content and education resources for people to enjoy from their homes.
She estimated the gallery's visitation was down by 75 per cent before it closed in June.
"It is frustrating to watch other facilities reopen ahead of us as we believe the gallery is a low-risk environment," Ms Bridgfoot said. "We also see arts and culture as a major contributor to community recovery.
"We understand the state government's priority is safely staging a reopening of (Victoria) however there is advocacy work being done to reopen cultural venues sooner.
"We have everything in place, including a COVID Safe plan, to open in a few days."
Golden Dragon Museum chief executive Hugo Leschen said operating this year had been like constantly turning a tap on and off.
"It's very impactful and disheartening for staff and volunteers," he said.
"There is no income except for support from various government programs, which is welcomed. We are down on the year by over 50 per cent.
"This time of year we would normally have tours and school groups. We were doing okay with day trippers from Melbourne, until they closed and two weeks later we closed.
"It's great to see other shops opening up. It tells all of us things are going much better."