BASS Coast businesses have welcomed the easing of restrictions announced this morning by Premier Daniel Andrews.

From Thursday, hospitality businesses in regional Victoria will be able to serve patrons outdoors, with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue, and an updated ‘two square metre’ density limit in place.

Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space – with up to two spaces per venue – and in line with the existing ‘four square metre’ density rule.

Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept.

Bass Coast Shire Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Geoff Ellis, said it was a good decision to ease restrictions given the low number of COVID-19 cases in regional Victoria.

“I’ve been speaking to a lot of traders and cafe owners who are ready to get out there and trade,” he told the Sentinel-Times.

“Regional tourism really needs to be encouraged [for regional Victorians] in areas affected by the bushfires and down here… we need to get tourism going again in a safe and controlled way.”

But, of course, we can’t become complacent.

“The worst thing to happen is if we go back to restrictions, so we need to keep wearing masks, keep social distancing, and respect the advice of the authorities, including Bass Coast Health and the state government.”

Cr Ellis said community groups had been putting off their AGMs due to technology constraints.

“I hope this easing of restrictions means they can have COVID-safe AGMs,” Cr Ellis said.