THE Ararat and Northern Grampians region can be thankful to have avoided lockdown but will still be affected by the state government's new restrictions, say business and tourism bodies.
Melbourne will re-enter stage three restrictions for six weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19, meaning people can only leave their houses for exercise, essential shopping, compassionate reasons, or work or study.
The restrictions will put the brakes on tourism, with premier Daniel Andrews telling Melburnians that means "no four hour hikes in the Grampians" in a statement on Tuesday.
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said the effect on tourism was "extremely disappointing".
"It's going to have a pretty big impact on our region, and it's going to impact the economy," he said.
"But I think our focus will now re-divert to regional Victoria. It represents 50 per cent of our visitation, so it's still very important to us.
"If we are able to activate further visitation from those areas, we will still be on a road to recovery, just a slightly slower road."
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- Mr Sleeman added that for tourism, it was the best time of the year for this to happen.
"We are going to bounce back. Just take every day as it comes at the moment and adjust as we need to," he said.
"I call out to industry partners to stay agile, implement the necessary rules and regulations to keep people safe, and we can get through this."
Wimmera Development Association executive director Chris Sounness said the new restrictions would have a serious effect on businesses and livelihood.
"It's definitely a hit for our region for the next six weeks," he said.
"Any restrictions are, even if we are out of the lockdown.
"Whenever travel and trade is affected, it is also tough for business.
" It's going to hit our businesses, work and family life."
Mr Sounness however said avoiding another state-wide lockdown gave rural Victoria a better chance to weather the storm.
He said it was up to everybody now to play their part and minimise the spread of the virus.
"We all just want the restrictions to be lifted, but we know why they are there," he said.
"The best way to get back to normal is to get on top of it, and the way we can do that is to act responsibly.
"We have a certain level of freedom still, but with freedom comes a fair bit of responsibility. It's our place to ensure that we stay responsible and abide by all the guidelines we have to."
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