AS COVID-19 restrictions wind back, Wimmera businesses are considering how to adjust to the much-touted "new normal".
Warracknabeal's Creekside Hotel owner Sally Gebert describes the environment as a whole new world.
"It's a very, very different landscape," she said.
The state government will allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to open to 20 patrons at a time from Monday.
The Creekside Hotel will serve its first sit-down meals in more than nine weeks on Wednesday.
Mrs Gebert said there were plenty of changes in store.
The business will initially return with reduced hours and smaller capacity. It has been rearranged to create three different dining spaces to comply with social distancing measures.
"On a Saturday night we'd regularly do 250 dinners. Now we can do 60," Mrs Gebert said.
"We would do 1200 meals a week on average ... we won't hit anywhere near that."
The Geberts first took over the hotel almost 10 years ago.
There's only one way for the family to accept the diminishing of their hard work: by pretending to start again.
"In our heads we've had to leave what it was and go 'okay, it's a brand new business, starting yesterday'," Mrs Gebert said.
"We need to treat it like a brand new business going forward. You can't go 'we used to do this' - that's just demoralising.
"We're starting all over again."
Mrs Gebert knows from experience to expect a few hiccups along the way with her "new" venture.
But she's also excited about the new changes coming in.
The hotel is going "contactless and cash-free" in light of the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Mrs Gebert said diners would book a table reservation online. Once seated at the hotel, diners could connect to and use the hotel's free wifi internet on their mobiles to check the menu and place meal and drink orders from their table.
People can pay for the meals when placing their order, and staff will bring them to their table.
"There's no more queuing up to order meals," Mrs Gebert said.
"It's full-on table service in a bistro setting."
Mrs Gebert said regular customers could create accounts and save their favourite orders.
She said the same system was in place for takeaway and home delivery orders.
Both of these started on Wednesday.
All staff members have also undergone the COVID-19 infection control training.
Mrs Gebert said each team member's temperature would be checked prior to a shift, and they would use one point of entry and exit.
She said the new systems were part of a duty of care for customers and staff.
"Coronavirus has made us rethink everything we're doing," she said.
"We started to have to look at what the world's going to be like. That's when we started to look around to see what options were there.
"We're trying to look at (the positives). There's got to be some good stuff in it."
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Mrs Gebert said people in the community had let her know how excited they were the business was reopening.
"It makes you feel really nice," she said.
"People are wanting to be back and we want to be back."
Mrs Gebert said the shutdown had been hard on the hotel and its staff.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. It's been really tough," she said.
After a rocky first month, the staff banded together to work on renovations on the business and prepare to reopen.
"It's been up and down and we're moving up again now," Mrs Gebert said.
"We're happy to see a growing light at the end of the end of the tunnel that isn't a train coming at us"
Mrs Gebert said she had been in regular contact with her staff throughout the stand-down.
"Our team has been amazing. They've stuck by us," she said.
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