How are Horsham businesses feeling about regional Victoria re-entering lockdown? It depends what their industry is.
From midnight Wednesday, regional Victoria will enter Stage Three restrictions, forcing restaurants and cafes to only offer takeaway food services. This is the second time regional Victoria is forced into this level of restricted movement, the first lasting from late March until late May.
Jeff Allan, owner of Chisholm HiFi and TV centre on Firebrace Street, said he would need outside financial support as he expected fewer customers.
"We anticipate staying open (once the stage 3 lockdowns return)," he said.
"It has to have an impact every time you have less customers.
"We have applied for state government grants. Short-term it (the money) is going to be used to get by. That becomes the main priority unless you're well-resourced it's hard to put it towards specific strategies.
"We haven't made any changes (to make it easier for people to buy online) and we're not likely to do it short term because of the simple cost and the time involved, and the expertise we would need to arrange it.
"Feel free to contact the businesses still. We have given a lot of phone support to people."
Brian Curran, owner of retail store Earles, was circumspect about the renewed stage three lockdowns. He said while tough, adjusting would not be as difficult given they had been through this once before.
"Most of the damage has already been done with the cancellation of high-end occasions like weddings and racing and deb balls," he said.
"This just affects us even more because we're sitting on winter stock which no one will likely buy if they're staying at home.
"We are trying to innovate our business: We've got our website up and running, sharing our products on social media. We just have to look at other facets of our business we can try to improve.
"(JobKeeper) has been extremely helpful. I would hate to think where we would be without that."
Horsham Concrete's Pauline Schmidt said it was hard to know what impact the reinstated lockdowns would have on her business long-term, given restrictions for manufacturing businesses could be tightened.
In Melbourne, some manufacturing businesses have to close for six weeks from Wednesday midnight, but this condition is not yet imposed on regional businesses.
"We have a full schedule ahead for this week and next week is filling up," Ms Schmidt said.
"If the restriction on small-scale constructions (maximum five people on-site) comes out to regional Victoria, I don't think it would make a huge difference because I doubt there are more than five people on a regional building site at any one time anyway. I can't see too many changes for us.
"Most of our customers that come in to us are saying they have never been busier. Obviously there were projects in the pipeline pre-COVID that are continuing, but all our customers are busy so we are too.
"We are doing a lot of on-site grain storage because farmers are spending after the good harvest last year.
We need rain soon for the crops to see what happens next year, but all the industries we service are all really busy.
"I know there are some that are having to slow right down and are suffering terribly, and you want them to succeed."
Council starts up COVID-19 grants program
Grants of up to $5000 are now available to Horsham Rural City businesses looking to innovate, improve their operations, implement marketing strategies and grow their businesses.
It follows the council's budget passing on Monday night.
In a statement, the council said all $484,000 raised from the rate increase going towards the COVID-19 Support Grants Program. Applications are open until March 21.
There is also funding for clubs and groups to offset financial losses and meet hygiene requirements, and for arts organisations.
Mayor Mark Radford said: "We realise how incredibly hard this is."