Former Maryborough hotel owner Ray Martin is taking on a new role as manager of the Lake Bolac Hotel.
"Every little town needs a pub. The main thing would be to get it back, so people have somewhere to catch up and swap stories," he said.
"I am just looking to support a town so they can have a pub ... it's very important for people to have a place to congregate and meet."
Last year, Mr Martin worked on a wind farm in Mortlake and previously owned Flagstaff Hotel in Maryborough.
"We created a nice environment there, where everybody had fun, we didn't have any trouble given where we were," he said.
"I also did some overseas travel, teaching in the United Kingdom, and now I am looking for something to take my time up here."
Mr Martin started his job as manager in September and said the Lake Bolac Hotel was open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
"We have AFL finals on and a few little competitions ... ," he said.
"We are just having it up on the screen so people can sit and have a beer with their mate ... which is a long way from where we were a month ago."
He said implementing the COVID-19 safety measurements had been challenging.
"We are just trying to follow all of the requirements, to make sure we have a certain number of people in the area and social distancing," he said.
"We are looking at getting a grant from council to extend our outdoor dining. There are lots of grants but no one is giving us any money whatsoever.
"We are trying to pay bills and staff ... the grants are good, but by the time they finally get around to it, a lot of businesses might not survive.
"We have done a bit of work on our area outside. We were setting up the chairs the other day ... and it was snowing."
The $58 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package business grants will help businesses adapt their operations to outdoor dining.
Businesses can apply for a grant of $5,000, which can be used to pay for umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment. This will help move the indoor dining and cafe experiences outdoors for Summer.
Lake Bolac Hotel owner Ian Bennett said they were slowly "building up" their opening hours from three days a week.
"It's very hard for people because you are only allowed 10 people in the restaurant ... we have got an outdoor dining area now too," he said.
"The indoor courtyard is being done up so we can have an overflow area."
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