The Victorian government's decision not to accelerate COVID-free regional areas including North-East Victoria out of restrictions quicker has attracted widespread criticism from the Prime Minister to Wodonga's mayor.
Cafes, restaurants and pubs were left devastated when they learned at the weekend they would be staying shut when the second stage three lockdown officially ended on Sunday with no guaranteed return date to re-opening.
Victorian border communities' pain is magnified with NSW being under minimal restrictions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a hotspot strategy was far better and hoped Mr Andrews' road map was only a worst case scenario.
"It actually treats the virus where it is and doesn't spread to an assumption across all parts of Victoria," he said.
"It is important the hotspot strategy is part of that because it enables different parts of the state to be treated appropriately."
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said the "one size fits all" approach discriminated against her city and the rest of regional Victoria.
"It is disappointing for our businesses and community to see this approach continue as we look to navigate to a COVID normal," she said.
"We acknowledge the need to draw a line, but why can't that line be around local government areas or for example a region such as Hume.
"It's not about policing or checkpoints, it's about allowing our economies, where it is safe to do so, to kick-start the state's way forward and for our communities to lead the way, just like they have been doing throughout this difficult period."
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley singled out Mr Andrews' appointed minister to deal with border closure issues, Jaclyn Symes, for "going missing" when she was needed most.
"Hopefully the designated responsible minister for COVID response in regional and rural Victoria, (Ms Symes), stumps up and starts coming out on the front foot and starts fighting for regional Victoria and this part of Victoria," he said.
Ms Symes was contacted by The Border Mail for comment on multiple occasions on Monday, but she defended the Premier's roadmap on ABC radio.
"We think there is some optimism and encouragement, particularly for regional Victoria, as we slowly step out of the restrictions and get our economy back on track," she said.
"We fully acknowledge people are doing it tough.
"The third step for country Victorians is very close and that will enable people to leave their homes for any reason and hopefully that will mean you can cross the border for any reason.
"I fully acknowledge this is frustrating for communities that have had zero or very few cases.
"But we do want to take a cautious approach to regional Victoria and protect the hard work and what has already been achieved.
"I'm in the Mitchell Shire and it didn't feel very good when we got lumped in with Melbourne."
There are 95 active cases in regional Victoria including 33 mystery ones.
In a belated response from Ms Symes' office, the government confirmed there were five active cases in the Shepparton-Rochester area, but no mystery cases existed.
Both centres are outside the recently expanded border region map.
Mr Tilley said the same restrictions should exist for the newly defined border region communities on both sides of the border.
"We are unique on the border, NSW has been quite generous," he said.
"It has been a hard road and we've suffered, but we've finally got there with some border concessions.
"The Victorian Labor government has to get off its bum, get up here and make some clear public policy to support this part of Victoria."
Member for Indi Helen Haines said she was "disappointed" there was little change in the short-term for areas like North-East Victoria from Mr Andrews.
"His announcement has made it clear that we're looking at months, not weeks, until we can re-open," she said.
"After drought, bushfire and border closures, regional Victorians would welcome the opportunity to re-establish our economy quicker than the current plan allows.
"The economies in regional Victoria could be doing much to support the overall state and national economy. In regional areas where there are no active cases, opening business again seems to make sense.
"The cafes, wineries, shops and services up and down our main streets, with strong COVID-Safe plans, are ready to get back to business.
Dr Haines is writing a letter to Mr Andrews asking him to re-consider the approach to regional Victoria.
Member for Farrer Sussan Ley believes it is illogical for the North East to be treated the same as other regional areas by the Victorian government.
"It makes no sense at all for regional Victoria, outside say Colac, Geelong and a couple of other southern regions, to be effectively caught up in the same set of rules," Ms Ley said.
"I think the Victorian government could have done this differently.
"I think they could have recognised different geographic locations, we're talking about hundreds of kilometres between just a few cases and no cases.
"We're talking about people who've invested (in) their homes, in their businesses, who can't go to work, who are incredibly frustrated and just don't see the public health rationale behind this."
Ms Ley also questioned the approach to coronavirus numbers being taken by Mr Andews.
"Heading towards a scenario of no cases at all is not realistic and it seems to me that's where the Andrews governments wants to head," she said.
"I don't know that that's the best advice from the Australian health principal practitioners' committee which gives that national advice."