Bendigo business leaders are calling for the "ring of steel" around Greater Melbourne to be reintroduced if the current COVID-19 cluster continues to worsen.
The ring of steel was originally introduced last year when Victoria was experiencing its second wave of coronavirus.
Australian Hotels Association Victoria executive board member and Hotel Shamrock Bendigo owner Ray Sharawara hoped the ring of steel would come into place if the government extended the circuit-breaker lockdown.
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The lockdown started at midnight on Thursday last week, and was set to last for seven days.
Mr Sharawara said if regional Victoria was placed under a lockdown extension, it would have catastrophic effects on the industry.
"I think if they said we could have a ring of steel and the regional centres could remain open then we would be completely in favour of it," he said.
If the lockdown was to be extended, Mr Sharawara hoped additional financial assistance from both the state and federal governments would be discussed.
"I would hope that the blame game that is going on now with the state versus federal government, that it would be put to the side and they would both think of the workers and the businesses that have been closed and additional funding would be announced," he said.
On Monday, Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said he could not rule out a return of the ring of steel.
"It will be determined as we go through a review of the situation day by day. It is not out of the question," he said.
The state government has not made an official announcement on extending the lockdown past its original ending of 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3.
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said a possible lockdown extension would have a massive effect on the city's businesses.
"The impact in terms of revenue and the bottom line would be significant but also on the health and wellbeing of workers," he said.
"Any expansion of the lockdown would hurt significantly."
Mr Bice said many central Victorian residents and businesses would welcome the reintroduction of the ring of steel.
"We are hopeful the ring of steel can come into play but it is pretty hard at this stage to really understand if it will be the case or not," he said.
"From a business perspective, there being no cases in regional Victoria, it would make sense to introduce the ring of steel again as it has been done in the past.
"Regional Victoria needs to get on with business and do what they really do best."
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