Premier Daniel Andrews described the end of the latest lockdown as "hard won" freedoms for regional Victorians.
Indeed, it has been hard, painful for the past month. Harder in metropolitan areas.
But this weekend we are free to leave our homes, free to shop, if we choose.
The decision to end regional Victoria's lockdown, excluding Shepparton, was good news for south-west Victorians. But the initial relief turned to frustration and anger when details of eased restrictions emerged.
Hotel, cafe and restaurant owners predicted they would lose money rather than make any if they opened under the new restrictions which limit indoor diners to 10 at a time and 20 outdoors. Some of Warrnambool's bigger establishments have decided against opening.
The government has maintained for the past 18 months its decisions have been based on health advice. Health and safety must be the number one priority, we will always argue that, but how did it arrive at such numbers?
In the government's words, this easing of restrictions must be slow, careful, cautious.
Those fatigued from lockdowns and changing restrictions are wondering why because there are more COVID-19 vaccinated people in regional Victoria than ever before. The point of vaccinations was to ensure public health and safety and to end lockdowns/ease restrictions.
No one wants people to be sick and our amazing health professionals run off their feet in the event of an outbreak but now the government has decided we need to live with COVID-19, why are regions, like ours, not being rewarded further for our state-leading vaccination rates?
South West Healthcare is challenging us to reach a 95 per cent vaccination target.
If the government presented a detailed roadmap matched to targets, would we get there sooner? Supplies have been an issue yet from next week there will be more appointments available.
South-west Victorians have shown they are willing to do the right thing as we have remained COVID-free for 12 months but would a carrot of more freedoms help?
There's no guessing what business owners would think, their staff too, who need clarity and hope.