Staff falling ill with COVID-19 after attending events including Warrnambool's May Racing Carnival and Koroit Irish Festival have hit businesses hard.
For the first time in more than two decades, Mickey Bourke's Hotel in Koroit has had to close its doors.
Owner Wendy Murley said a number of staff were off work with COVID-19 and the business didn't have a pool of casual staff as back-ups.
"We probably knew it was going to happen at some stage with the Irish festival and the May races," Mrs Murley said. "We don't have the luxury of having casuals we can call on."
Mrs Murley said she hoped the hotel would re-open on Thursday after being forced to remain closed since Monday.
She said she believed a lot of people who had previously worked in hospitality had secured employment in other industries after the uncertainty of lockdowns.
Macey's Bistro owner Peter 'Cork' Walsh said he was "just getting by", with a number of staff away due to COVID-19.
Two of his key staff members have been away this week after testing positive after last week's carnival.
"On average we have had three or four away a day," Mr Walsh said. "We're just getting by. Some of the staff are working extra shifts to cover them."
Mr Walsh said he would have struggled if he had been as busy as previous years.
He said patronage at the bistro had decreased by about 30 per cent since the pandemic hit. "There's just a complete shortage," he said.
Mr Walsh said in past years he would have had people lining up for a job.
"I don't think people want to work in hospitality at the moment," he said.
"When we had the shutdowns people got alternative jobs."
A number of other businesses in Warrnambool have reduced opening hours.
Vandebrew asked for patience from its customers in a post on its Facebook page, saying it was "running a one person show in both stores".
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