Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has provided a glimmer of hope to regional areas which have kept the spread of coronavirus at bay with a potential acceleration to easing of restrictions.
A state of emergency has been extended to July 19, but Mr Andrews made the shock revelation at the weekend his government was considering a separate set of rules in areas where COVID-19 was in check.
Pubs and cafes will not be opening their doors to 50 customers from Monday as previously planned due to the spike in cases in Melbourne.
But Mr Andrews said the response had to work both ways and regional areas could be rewarded with the changes flagged to follow school holidays beginning this weekend and ending July 12.
"There are many parts of the state, particularly in regional Victoria, that have had no cases," he said.
"We will, if and when it is safe, re-open those communities, perhaps, with a different set of rules.
"We do acknowledge there is some complexity that can come from that, but it is not all one way."
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The Albury Wodonga Health area has not recorded a COVID-19 case for almost 80 days and there was no mass outbreak from the recent case at the Bright aged care facility.
The Premier's statement was welcomed by Business Wodonga chairman Graham Jenkin.
"Why should we be shut down when we should be able to operate and get business owners running their businesses and employing people again?" he said.
Benambra MP Bill Tilley hoped Mr Andrews would follow through with his relaxing of restrictions in regional areas including Wodonga and other centres in his electorate.
"We've been disciplined, we've been very careful what we do up here and deserve and separate set of rules," he said.
"Lock down those areas where there are those cases and use the full force of the law to carry that out.
"If they continue to flout the restrictions, put them into motels and isolate them just like the returning travellers.
"But let the rest of us get back to work."
Mr Andrews' region-by-region response to restrictions had been raised with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.