THE Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes today’s news most Victorian businesses can operate from Friday but continues to advocate for a “snapback” to pre-lockdown restrictions.

Metropolitan Melbourne will mostly adopt regional Victoria’s current settings – albeit with a 25km radius – while regional Victoria’s restrictions will be eased further.

When Victoria faced similar lockdown restrictions in October last year, the state government required zero active cases to reopen the state.

“With more confidence in contact tracing, widespread adoption of QR Codes and the vaccine rollout underway, today’s announcement marks a shift to a more targeted approach to managing outbreaks,” the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

Chief executive Paul Guerra said: “Today’s news is good but it’s not the snapback we were hoping for; we went fast in, but we are crawling out.

“While most businesses across the state can now open, we need to see further easing of restrictions to enable all businesses to get back to viable trade as soon as possible to keep jobs, businesses, livelihoods, culture and prosperity alive in Victoria. The mental health toll of these restrictions is immense, as is the damage they’re causing to our reputation and confidence.

“It’s great to see regional Victoria taking another step out of lockdown and the Victorian Chamber is advocating for the state to unite again quickly. Not every business in the state will be able to operate from tomorrow and some will continue to lose money every day until restrictions are eased further.

“We know our tourism sector will miss out this weekend, but we hope to see visitors return to the regions from next weekend and beyond.

“We need all Victorians and businesses to make sure that people are checking-in everywhere they go. The tick is the key to giving health officials greater confidence to allow us to open up even more. Let’s use that as motivation to accelerate our path out.”