RESTAURANT and cafe managers in the Wimmera are disappointed and frustrated by COVID-19 related restrictions "going backwards" in the hospitality industry.
Victoria hit the skids on easing COVID-19 restrictions at the weekend, keeping the maximum number of patrons allowed in an "enclosed space" at 20, with a maximum of 10 per group.
The unexpected change in trajectory forced the Horsham Sports and Community Club to re-evaluate their plans.
"It's disappointing that we're going backwards," club manager Glenn Carroll said.
"We've been trading for three weeks and were really looking forward to Monday.
"We had some groups larger than 20 booked in so how we deal with that is another challenge.
"We're just trying to make it work as best we can. I just hope local people continue to get out there and support local people."
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With the tighter restrictions due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, Mr Carroll hoped the state government would consider having different rules for regional Victoria to help small businesses.
"Hopefully they might lock down harder on some local areas and free up some others," he said.
"There's been no (COVID-19) cases up in our area for something like 12 weeks. You'd like to think your local government areas might get looked after a little differently, and they might relax the restrictions for our area."
Cheeky Fox owner Mick Harris said the limit on restrictions would not change the running of his Horsham Cafe, but the increase in cases had caused some anxiety.
"Because the distancing is based on having a group of people every four square metres, we're at the limit with 20 people anyway. But just knowing that the virus is a little less controlled, that is a bit worrying," Mr Harris said.
"The last thing we want is for this to get out of hand and all of a sudden everyone has to shut their doors up here again."
Mr Harris said it had been great to reopen the cafe's doors earlier this month.
"It's been really positive for your loyal customers and some older customers, to get out and enjoy a meal and have some socialisation," he said.
"The customers understand about the social distancing and the limited numbers you can have, and we've been very happy about the way things have been going."
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