Update Tuesday: Lowan MP Emma Kealy has thrown her support behind calls for regional communities with no active COVID-19 cases to have restrictions relaxed compared to Melbourne.
"I have received numerous enquiries from business owners, frustrated that people in rural areas who are doing the right thing are being penalised for outbreaks in Melbourne. This is killing local jobs and prosperity," she said in a statement.
"There are local government areas in our region that have never recorded a positive case of COVID-19, yet are subject to the same restrictions as areas with several cases.
"We recognise that social distancing and density requirements will help ensure our communities continue to remain COVID-free, but we can ease restrictions and safely open our communities while still adhering to these requirements.
Monday: Horsham Rural City mayor Mark Radford says health should remain everyone's priority, despite the impacts coronavirus restrictions are having on business.
It follows the Victorian government tightening coronavirus restrictions on Monday in response to a spike in new positive tests, where it had previously planned to relax them further on the same day.
People can only attend household gatherings of less than five indoors and ten outdoors in Victoria until July 12. The plan for cafes, restaurants and pubs to allow 50 patrons at one time from 20 is also on hold until then.
There have since been calls for restrictions to ease in regional areas without active cases of the virus. The last case of the virus recorded in Horsham was on April 8.
Cr Radford said he believed Horsham residents would be comfortable with people from suburbs with high coronavirus infection rates not visiting the region.
"If Mr Smith who lives in Brimbank (a Melbourne council area identified as a COVID-19 hotspot) comes up to Horsham for the weekend, I don't think people here would be so excited about that," he said.
"We were reminded last week at our COVID-19 agencies meeting that we need to be consciously aware this virus is a real problem around the world. We had Dr Rob Grenfell as our guest speaker and he explained the seriousness of this thing," he said.
"We're not over it yet, and I think we need to be cautious about using the word recovery too soon. Restrictions will go on and off and vary and it will be an uncomfortable time for everybody. It is a challenging time and will be disappointing for some of our businesses."
Cr Radford said he thought "Drawing extra boundaries around the state would be complex to police".
"You can put things in place that say 'we advise you not to do this', but if you're going to put rules in place, you've got to police it. For example at the moment you can't go to South Australia, not 'you shouldn't'.
"We are all in this together and we all need to be following the rules and advice of the government."
Ararat Mayor argues there is merit behind the proposal
While Ararat Rural City Council mayor Jo Armstrong agrees with Cr Radford, she said there is merit behind imposing lighter restrictions on regional areas.
"There is a good case to lift the restrictions, because we have all taken a hit, especially tourism and hospitality," she said.
"The evidence is there - we are only seeing clusters of new cases in metropolitan areas.
"Meanwhile, regional communities have done the right thing the whole time."
Cr Armstrong acknowledge imposing separate regulations for people based on their location would be difficult to execute.
"We don't want people living in high risk areas bringing the risk of infection with them to our community," she said.
"But it would be unreasonable to expect hardworking essential servicepeople, such as delivery drivers originating from Melbourne, not to stop in one of our towns for rest and something to eat and drink.
"Where do you draw the line?"
The mayor said the news of tighter restrictions was a setback for the already struggling community.
"The restrictions are a blow to our confidence ... at the end of the day, we have to be respectful of the restrictions," she conceded.
"All councils - both metro and regional - are conscious of state government guidelines and are following the Victorian government instructions."