South-west businesses are welcoming the further relaxing of coronavirus restrictions after a tough year of lockdowns and social distancing measures saw a hit to patronage and income.
Victoria has moved to allow 100 per cent of seated indoor and outdoor capacity for entertainment. Cultural and sporting venues can have up to 1000 people per space.
It marks a major milestone for south-west operators who can now sell more tickets, fill more seats and host more patrons.
Capitol Cinema Warrnambool daily manager Daniel Tobin welcomed the return to normalcy.
"We've been out of action and social distancing since March last year," he said.
"We're back to full capacity now and as of Thursday we will stop doing allocated seating.
"It's good being back to normal and getting everyone seated in the cinema."
The whiplash of lockdowns saw job losses at the cinema and the fluctuating rules of the pandemic often left the business in a grey area.
"We didn't know what was going to happen week-by-week which was a bit hard to deal with," Mr Tobin said.
"We're finally in clear and with lots of movies coming out soon we should be able to get more and more people in.
"In the early days we were still in the dark about what movies would be released but now it looks like over the next couple of months we'll be getting some pretty big blockbusters.
"It would be great for everyone to support us and get back to the movies.
"A full cinema would be good to see."
During the pandemic aboutseven employees lost their job, but with the return of business and community support it's hoped to bring those workers back on board.
"Most of us were working more hours than JobKeeper required so we had to get rid of some people that didn't fit the JobKeeper requirement, but hopefully we will be able to get some of them back in," Mr Tobin said.
The revised rules have also seen density quotas scrapped in offices, where previously a density limit of one person per two square metres applied to shared spaces in the absence of a cap on the number of office workers.
Health Minister Martin Foley said the change meant more Victorians could keep coming back to the office, which provided important flow-on patronage to cafes and shops in business precincts.
"Designated empty chairs at these venues can now be filled - and that's a big moment for operators who will be able to run at 100 per cent seated capacity, with up to 1000 patrons per space, for the first time in almost a year," he said.
"More people coming back to the office means more people visiting shops, cafes, restaurants and services throughout our business precincts, which are getting busier by the day.
"There are still important steps that venues and visitors have to observe to help us stay safe and stay open, such as the need to keep checking in at venues."
Under the revised settings, no density quotients will apply for courts and tribunal facilities or the Victorian Parliament.
It is still mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.
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