IT has been a uniquely difficult year for Horsham's Victoria Hotel.
Just as the first COVID-19 lockdown was ending in late May, the hotel was struck by a "heartbreaking" fire that caused significant damage to the venue's kitchen and bistro area.
A temporary kitchen was swiftly built in the hotel's car park. But just days after the hotel reopened, Victoria's second lockdown came into effect.
"We were open for five days after the fire, then we were finished again," Mr Fitterer said.
"With the COVID, then the fire ... it's been a tough trot. But we're just taking it in stride.
"You can't lay down, you have to just keep going forward."
Now, with venues reopening for a second time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel - and Mr Fitterer is determined to maximise the venue's potential.
The hotel has attached a large outdoor marquee onto the temporary kitchen, stretching back into the cark park.
The new space allows up to 50 socially-distanced people to eat, drink and, perhaps most importantly after months of lockdown, socialise.
"The reception to it has been great," Mr Fitterer said. "People are just longing to get out of the house.
"To get out here and have a drink, have a sit-down feed, and see some people you know, it's very important.
"People have been loving it."
It is the type of ingenuity that has been required from Mr Fitterer since he took on the publicans role just 18 months ago.
Through every obstacle, Mr Fitterer's fighting spirit has ensured the hotel remains as prominent as ever.
"We'll never lay down," he said.
"We've had the place for close to 18 months. It's been a rough trot, but it makes you stronger. You learn from all this."
Mr Fitterer also said that the community had been incredibly supportive during the difficult period.
"I cannot thank the people of Horsham and the surrounding suburbs enough for what they've done for us," he said.
"During lockdown, the people of Horsham really got behind us. So many people were regulars coming through the drive-through. We got to know so many people on a first-name basis."
Mr Fitterer encouraged the community and fellow businesses to continue supporting one another.
"We refuse to buy anything that's not in Horsham," he said.
"We buy all our meat from the butcher down the road, everything through the Western Victorian Wholesalers, paper and stationary from Shelton and Lane, shirts with Allan and Trev's Workwear. Just all that sort of stuff.
"We are keen to support them and they are the ones supporting us too. That's what you've got to do."
The marquee is open to diners every night, but Mr Fitterer recommended booking on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, due to its popularity.
As for more permanent changes, Mr Fitterer said the plan to rebuild from May's fire was still in motion.
"We've still got to rebuild," he said.
"Hopefully we get the green light this week for rebuilding to start, and it will go up pretty quickly.
"The kitchen will be bigger and better than what it was, we'll probably seat more people than we had before, so everything will be bigger, better and faster."
Did you know you can receive updates straight to your inbox? To make sure you're up-to-date with news from across the region, sign up below.