Koroit publican Julie Smith has praised a supportive community and the federal government's JobKeeper program for helping her business wade through the COVID-19 crisis.
Mrs Smith and her husband Darren have ran the Commercial Hotel in Koroit for the last 11 years, with the pandemic providing them with the biggest challenge during that time.
While bar trade has not been able to return since social distancing restrictions hit in late March, the Smiths have been able to keep serving take-away meals.
As a qualified chef, Mr Smith was able to prepare meals himself as the couple gauged the town's appetite for a return to offering food.
Mrs Smith said the response set in motion the move to tap into the JobKeeper program.
"The community have been so supportive," Mrs Smith said.
"Without that support we wouldn't have been able to keep going. Once we realised people wanted our take-away meals we then looked at accessing the JobKeeper."
While Mrs Smith admitted the application for JobKeeper was at times confusing, she persisted.
She found that one of her staff members, a full-time chef, was eligible for the JobKeeper program.
The Smiths approached the chef, who was happy to come back to work and receive the JobKeeper payments.
"It (JobKeeper) has certainly been beneficial for us, it has allowed us to keep doing our meals," Mrs smith said.
"But as I said, none of this would have been possible without the support of the community."
The Commercial Hotel has meals available for take-away from Wednesday to Saturday night.
The hotel has not taken up the option of opening for 20 people for meals at the venue, instead setting a June 25 date for a return.
Mrs Smith said by then, an increase to 50 people for meals at one time would be in place, which is a more manageable scenario.