Bendigo businesses and residents are eager to welcome Victoria's vaccinated economy after months of lockdowns and restrictions.
Among the major changes to the state's restrictions as part of reaching double doses of COVID-19 vaccination for 70 per cent of Victoria's over-16 residents is face-to-face socialising.
Hospitality businesses can now welcome up to 130 fully vaccinated patrons (30 inside, 100 outside).
Hustler owners Justin McPhail and Nick Horgan are expecting a busy weekend with the capacity for their restaurant potentially tripling.
"We won't jump straight into it because we have staff away isolating," Mr McPhail said.
"For most part we can seat 30 inside comfortably and outside we are starting with 56 seats. It is about getting used to having that amount of people in for the first time since we opened last year."
Mr Horgan said customers should be used to having to check-in and show identification. The added requirement will be having to provide their vaccination certificate.
"For people to be shocked about it this late in the game, you have to ask what they have been doing," he said. "We want to play the game as best we can, look after ourselves, staff and the venue - that's why we decided 56 is our limit."
The community will also be able to welcome up to 10 fully vaccinated people into their homes per day.
Bendigo resident Alex Zegelin said the restrictions have reminded him how important face-to-face reactions are.
"Before COVID, I took my social life for granted."
Mr Zegelin said he now realised how much seeing people meant to him.
"Seeing my friends and hanging out with people are little things but they mean a lot for your mental health," he said.
"It's not the same - doing things digitally - you miss the instantaneous reactions from real people.
"I think people are itching to get out. I'm going to see a lot of friends for a lot of overdue catch-ups - not just in parks but at homes where we can watch movies and have dinner."
Mr Horgan said he hoped people would be patient and kind to workers who are now required to ask for a customer's identification and vaccination certificate.
"For us extra there is an element of risk if we are not doing the right thing and there are some big incentives to do the right thing. We can't afford a $120,000 fine," he said.
"It is what it is. So many people have different thoughts on it but at the end of the day this is the climate we are operating in and it's really good compared to what it was."
Some Bendigo venues will miss out on opening this weekend after being listed as tier one exposure sites.
The latest tier one sites in Greater Bendigo include The Rifle Brigade Hotel (October 16, from 1.50pm to 3.30pm), Golden Vine Hotel (October 16, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm), Queens Arms Hotel (October 16, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm), Kennington Tavern (October 16, from 8pm to 9.30pm) and the Gallery Cafe (October 10, from 3.10pm to 4.10pm).
Other tier one hospitality sites in Bendigo that are still current include Cafe Essence (October 14, from 7am to 3pm, October 15, from 8am to 3pm, October 16, from 9am to 9.30am) and The Dispensary Bar and Diner (October 9, from 10.32pm to midnight).
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