Public health directions on how events where people roam freely can operate will be reviewed again in February.
The state government confirmed that large events, such as markets that meet Tier 1 or Tier 2 status in the Public Events Framework cannot proceed under current directions of the Chief Health Officer.
It has resulted in the cancellation of the Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst being forced to cancel its annual market event at Lake Weeroona on Australia Day.
Yesterday, organisers of the Junortoun Australia Day flag raising ceremony and barbecue breakfast also cancelled their event due to coronavirus infection control requirements.
"Victoria's Chief Health Officer has deemed events where people roam freely under the Public Events Framework cannot go ahead for the month of January," a Victoria Government spokesperson said.
"This direction restricts large events at which people roam, including markets. This decision has been taken out of an abundance of caution."
Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst president Ted Gretgrix informed stallholders of the event's cancellation on Tuesday.
The spokesperson said markets are assessed on a case-by-case basis with each application to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Events team at least six to eight weeks ahead of an event for Tier 1 events, and at least four to six weeks for Tier 2 events.
Organisers of Lake Weeroona's Australia Day Market have been forced to cancel the event after the state government did not grant it approval to go ahead.
Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst president Ted Gretgrix said the decision was disappointing and frustrating with 94 stallholders booked in to be part of the market under a COVID-safe plan.
He informed stallholders of the market's cancellation yesterday after the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions advised the club the event wasn't approved.
"We're sorry about that and will refund money as soon as we can organise it," Mr Gretgrix said. "We're just disappointed and frustrated.
"Some events have been given the go ahead, like farmers' markets. We're what they call a roaming and free-standing market. All those been refused until next (COVID) phase."
City of Greater Bendigo tourism and major events manager Terry Karamaloudis also confirmed council had decided to move the Australia Day civic ceremony to the town hall to meet current health and restriction requirements.
"I know the community looks forward to the annual Australia Day event at Lake Weeroona run by the Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst, but as a Tier 2 event, it required approval from DHHS," Mr Karamaloudis said. "Unfortunately state approval was not given due to concerns about large crowds wanting to attend the event."
Council's Australia Day ceremony includes the announcement of the citizen and young citizen of the year and a citizenship ceremony. It will be at Bendigo Town Hall from 10.30am on January 26.
"The format has been carefully planned to meet health requirements and current restriction numbers for public gatherings," Mr Karamaloudis said.
"The City of Greater Bendigo does not deliver Australia Day events but does support volunteer groups to stage community gatherings. All public events need to comply with current COVID-19 guidelines to keep the community safe."
The Australia Day Market is one of the rotary club's main fundraisers for the year along with its Easter market, which was cancelled in 2020.
"We took a chance in some ways by going ahead with the organisation because wanted to do something on Australia Day," Mr Gretgrix said. "The application went in weeks before Christmas and they said (it could take) six weeks from when we applied. We couldn't wait that long."
Mr Gretgrix said the club hopes to host an Australia Day breakfast at Lake Weeroona.
"We'll try do something on Australia Day but our main focus will be seeing what can do at Easter," he said.
The state government has been contacted for comment.