South-west hospitality owners have expressed disbelief and frustration at the minimal changes announced in the state roadmap on Sunday.
The state government gave very little relief to regional Victoria in the plan, despite many areas having had no new cases of COVID-19 for more than a year.
Under the first stage of the roadmap - when the state hits 80 per cent first dose vaccine coverage for those over 16 - hospitality venues will be able to increase outdoor patronage from 20 people to 30, but the indoor cap of 10 will remain the same.
Further relaxations aren't scheduled until the state passes 70 per cent fully vaccinated, which is over 5 weeks away according to government modelling from the Burnet Institute.
Timboon's Railway View Hotel owner Karen Flett said there wasn't much she could say about the announcement.
"There's not much in there at all for us, is there?"
She said the lack of changes was disheartening, but there was no choice except to "keep on keeping on".
"It's not fair on anyone; on the patrons, or on the businesses," she said.
Diana McLean, owner of the Junction Hotel in Allansford, said nothing would change for them after the announcement.
"We're just continuing with our takeaways, just doing evening meals, and trying to alleviate as many costs as we can," she said.
More significant changes are scheduled for Phase B of the roadmap, when the state reaches 70 per cent fully vaccinated, but the indicative date for the milestone is more than a month away on October 26. At that point hospitality businesses in regional Victoria would be allowed 30 patrons indoors and 100 outside. All patrons would have to be fully vaccinated.
Ms Flett said the Phase B changes would make a big difference, but business wouldn't be back to capacity.
"We still wouldn't be anywhere near it, 30 people's not many and and most of the capacity is outside, so that is often difficult," she said.
Daniel Andrews announced new government grants would be made available to help businesses increase their outdoor seating capacity. Ms McLean said this wouldn't help her business much.
"We don't really have areas around us to do outdoor service, so we can't really increase patronage that way."
She said the Phase B rule that patrons would have to be fully vaccinated could cause controversy among some of her regulars.
"I know a lot of the community out here and there are a few who aren't getting the jab, so it might cause some problems but we will see," Ms McLean said.
She said all her staff were well on their way to being fully vaccinated and it was just some of the younger employees who were yet to get their second dose.
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