BENDIGO hospitality owners say they are thrilled to be able to reopen as Victoria's snap lockdown eases, but have called for government support to make up for losses sustained.
Restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars will be allowed to reopen from 11.59pm as Victoria exits its snap lockdown.
They will be subject to a density quotient of one person for each four square metres, as well as a total patron cap of 100 inside and 300 outside.
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Golden Square Hotel owner Renee Carroll said reopening news was great, but government needed to match the revenue lost during lockdown, the second within two months.
Ms Carroll said she was expecting about $4200 in business support for the lockdown, but jumping through the hurdles to get it was a burden.
She said local government also needed to support landlords with rates relief, as it hit them even harder.
"We sort of just gained some momentum again, and they closed us down," Ms Carroll said.
"People in the community started to get some more confidence back, and they closed us down."
Ms Carroll said lots of loyal patrons had already messaged to say they would be back in the pub come Friday night, but density limits made things difficult.
She said it was a challenge to figure out how to manage the venue's multiple spaces - and single bar - to remain within these restrictions, especially as people rarely booked.
Ms Carroll said these rules limited service a bit, which meant she might have to create sittings.
"It's just hard when someone's having a good time, and spending money, and you've got to say, 'Got to go now'," she said.
Masons of Bendigo owner Sonia Anthony said she was thrilled about the new restrictions announced today.
Ms Anthony said the 100 patron cap meant businesses could make money, unlike the "dark days" when they were allowed only 10 people per space.
She urged people to continue supporting local small businesses, such as eateries.
"Come out and dine with us, we all know what the procedures are, we know what we need to do to make sure we keep everybody safe," Ms Anthony said.
"We just are so happy to be able to welcome people back and hear those conversations, just people enjoying being out again."
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said he welcomed the fact that gyms could return and hospitality venues could have a greater capacity, in contrast to previous periods immediately after lockdowns.
"It still doesn't make it easy from a business point of view, but at least they are up and running," Mr Bice said.
Mr Bice said there would be keen interest in the government support package for businesses, due to be unveiled on Wednesday.
He said regional chambers of commerce would continue to advocate for a better way to manage any future lockdowns, so regions without exposure sites or cases could be spared some of the harshest effects.
Mr Bice also called for regional Victorians to support their local business community.
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