Managers of Bendigo's two cinemas say increasing the capacity of indoor entertainment venues is the only way the businesses will see significant recovery.
Cinemas can currently only host 20 people per space making it a struggle for businesses to break even if they choose to open.
Bendigo Cinemas general manager Ron Bolitho said it is up to the state government to make the move that will assist the entertainment industry.
"(We need) numbers back to 75 per cent capacity in each auditorium," he said. "We are struggling with 20 people per auditorium."
Bendigo Cinemas currently runs about five sessions per cinema each day meaning the business can cater to about 700 patrons per day.
"We're here and we're operating and trying to do best can to give people a choice," Mr Bolitho said. "We all need a social outing at the moment.
"People are coming but it also relates to product. With school holidays a week away, 20 people per auditorium doesn't add up to many people a day."
Star Cinemas business manager Martin Myles said the simple step to recovery is having people back at the business.
"Before COVID hit and for the short time had freedoms in the early part of this year, audience attendance levels were very high and we had steady increases," he said. "We are trusting that will return. We know we have loyal patrons.
"If everyone in Bendigo came to the cinema once a year, we would be right as rain. That's all is takes for us to be very financially stable."
Star Cinema remains closed with Mr Myles saying that, like many other businesses, the restrictions meant opening up was not financially viable.
He said if Star Cinema could host just over a third of its capacity, it would be able to re-open its doors.
"We need to be able to confidently take at least 60 people per session on average," he said.
In the meantime, Mr Myles said the Star Cinema team is preparing and hoping to reopen in October.
"We have to do something, so we are shooting for (October) and hoping it can happen but are prepared for disappointment," he said. "As soon as we get the green light we have to be ready to go.
"Part of strain has been preparing so much in last 18 months for nothing to happen.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: