BUSINESSES across Bass Coast and South Gippsland are recording an influx of locals and regional visitors following the easing of restrictions on Thursday.

And it’s good news for the local economy – jobs are returning to the workforce and there’s plenty to be happy about.

Regional Victoria continues to have an average of less than five new COVID-19 cases per day and everyone is abiding by social distancing while wearing masks and washing their hands.

There were plenty of people out and about today (Saturday, September 19) enjoying fish ‘n’ chips, drinks at the local watering hole or a cup of coffee at their favourite café (or all three if you’re up for it!).

And, of course, it is a lawful excuse to not wear a face covering “when consuming food, drink or medication, including when seated at a restaurant where permitted,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Earlier this week, the Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath encouraged Gippslanders to come together, support jobs and help grow the local economy by shopping and travelling locally.

“Small businesses provide us with local jobs and in addition, they regularly support our causes and clubs through generous donations, now it’s time to offer them a helping hand by way of our patronage,” Ms Bath said this week.

Ms Bath said Gippsland was a wonderfully diverse and dynamic region blessed with great food and fibre producers, a dynamic and exciting hospitality sector and bountiful natural attractions.

“From the high country right through to our coastal towns, Gippsland has it all!

“Small businesses are the backbone of our country communities and the heart of our regional economy.”