BENDIGO'S business community has cautiously welcomed a new regional trial to ease restrictions for those who are vaccinated.
The state government on Sunday confirmed the City of Greater Bendigo would be one of the first regional areas to take part in a 'vaccine economy' trial.
Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said the Greater Bendigo, Buloke, Bass Coast, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, and East Gippsland municipalities had been selected due to high vaccination rates and low cases.
The trial, which was expected to start on October 11, would involve industries like hospitality, hair and beauty, and tourism.
Under the trial, patron caps at venues and events would be expanded but all attendees would have to be fully vaccinated.
Mr Pakula said the trial would confirm the best processes for businesses to establish vaccination status.
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said businesses would support any chance to reopen further, although the devil would be in the detail.
"I think anything that helps businesses to get somewhere near normal is an absolute plus," Mr Bice said. "I'm sure Bendigo businesses will look to participate in it.
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"The question comes down to the details. How will businesses actually ensure that the people who are coming to their businesses are vaccinated? What will that process look like?
"Clearly, businesses will have to police that in some form. The checking of IDs and QR codes has been handled ok at the moment, but the vaccine policy is unknown."
Mr Bice said it was positive that Bendigo was included in the first stage of the vaccine economy trial amid the new coronavirus cases and exposure sites.
"The announcement gives more confidence that we won't be going back into lockdown," he said. "Obviously there is no guarantee, but having Bendigo as one of the six areas gives us some confidence.
"At the end of the day, we just encourage everyone to do the right thing and understand that businesses are there to do their best."
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