DESPITE being yet to record a COVID-19 case, one central Victorian shire is preparing to return to tighter restrictions.
Buloke Shire will re-enter stage three COVID-19 restrictions along with the rest of regional Victoria at 11.59pm on Wednesday.
But Buloke Shire Council chief executive Anthony Judd said they understood the need for restrictions.
Mr Judd said it was always a matter of "not if but when" there was a COVID-19 case in the shire.
He was confident shire residents would do the right thing again and bunker down.
"Like everyone in Victoria ... we've been a little disappointed to have to go back. We understand the reasons, we understand there was a need for tighter lockdowns across regional Victoria," Mr Judd said.
"Whilst Buloke itself at this point hasn't had any confirmed cases, we certainly know they're not far away.
"There's not a wall around Buloke. They're in neighbouring towns and areas, and these towns and areas out people work in."
Of Buloke's neighbouring councils, Loddon has three active COVID-19 cases, out of six ever recorded.
Swan Hill has two active cases, out of six across all time. The Northern Grampians likewise has two active cases, out of six ever.
Mildura has zero active, five ever recorded. Yarrambiack, and Gannawarra are both without active cases, with respectively one and two across all time.
Mr Judd said Buloke had the natural advantages of a dispersed population, which had helped it escape COVID-19 so far.
He said absence of large scale aged care, or vulnerable industries, a community that has done the right thing, and luck, also contributed.
Mr Judd said the council would go through the process of talking to businesses this week, to understand the effects of another wave of lockdown.
He said many businesses were hurting during the first wave of lockdown, and would likely suffer again.
Mr Judd said on a community level, many struggled with their mental health, and homeschooling.
He said the council aimed to make sure support agencies were available over the coming weeks.
Mr Judd said there was a real feeling of sadness returning to lockdown. But he urged the community to stay calm and support each other.
"When we went through it the first time there was a real hope that we'd bunker down and get through it," he said.
"We all just want to do this right thing, and beat this thing.
"Hopefully in six weeks, those restrictions can ease a little bit, and we can return to the social settings that makes Buloke a really wonderful place."
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