BENDIGO cafes have tried to reopen for in-person dining amid tightened COVID-19 restrictions.
Under the new rules, only 10 people are allowed to be inside premises while 20 people are allowed outside.
Many businesses decided to stick to takeaway-only but Daniel Hurle, owner of the Gallery Cafe, chose to reopen.
"We were pretty torn about opening because it's hard with the miniscule amount we can actually have," he said, "We can probably fit another 50 to 60 people in here.
"We had to turn people away, which is a bit of a shame. But it's also a good sign that people are still out and about."
Spring Gully General Store owner Adam Nicoletti said he tried to reopen the business for in-person dining on Friday, but closed again on Saturday because it was simply not viable.
"We wanted to be able to reopen," he said. "We wanted to see what the takings were and to see if we could run with a skeleton staff, but it wasn't feasible.
"We went back to doing takeaway and we've been really well supported. Community support has been spectacular. We couldn't ask for anything more."
Mr Nicoletti also owns the Bendigo Corner Store, which stayed open to patrons at the weekend. He said despite the continued support at that site, it was also likely that it would close for takeaway-only this week.
Mr Nicoletti said the only way it would be feasible for his cafes to reopen under restrictions was to have the one patron per four square metre rule.
"Anything less than that, it becomes difficult," he said. "We're quite literally at 15 per cent capacity at the moment."
Mr Hurle agreed a further easing of restrictions would be welcomed in the hospitality sector. But he said his main concern was another lockdown being called.
"Give it a week, I would think," Mr Hurle said. "If we lock down, it makes it hard to want to reopen again.
"Do we stay closed for the next six months until it hopefully passes? Or is it viable to reopen and throw all this money in the bin?"
Mr Hurle encouraged the Bendigo community to continue to support local over the next few challenging months.
"We appreciate the support," he said. "I know every business in town needs it right now."
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