HOSPITALITY businesses have welcomed the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria with open arms, as diners flock to local venues.

On McBride Avenue in Wonthaggi, the Coffee Collective’s Ketul Chaudhari said it was great to see customers dining inside and out.

“We’ve had a great response from the local community. They’ve been waiting a long time,” he said today (Thursday, September 17).

“I would like to thank everyone, including all our loyal customers, who supported us during these restrictions.”

The atmosphere was also brewing at Folks café on Graham Street.

“Dining out can be the highlight of people’s day, they can sit down with their friends and enjoy their meal with cutlery and drink their coffee out of a ceramic cup. It’s great,” Folks café owner Graeme Heenan said.

Folks café resumed dine-in services today as Bass Coast moved to Step Three of the roadmap. Café owner Graeme Heenan and barista Charlie Joma hadn’t seen the store so alive in six weeks.

“Now that our regulars can come in and have a bit of a chat, it’s a lot more vibrant in the store.”

Regional cafes were restricted to takeaway only for the last six weeks.