Wodonga will still lag way behind Albury on the road to COVID normal when "Mickey Mouse" changes to restrictions come into effect for regional Victoria late on Sunday.
Even though both cities have been virus-free for more than two months, Albury is off and running on the road to recovery with pubs, cafes and restaurants continuing to open their doors to patrons, have preparations for summer community sport underway and residents don't need to wear masks.
From late Sunday night, Wodonga's hospitality businesses, which successfully operated under stage two restrictions before being locked down for a second time this year, will still only be able to serve takeaway and residents can still only leave home for school or work, care or caregiving, essential shopping and exercise.
A move to step three including pubs, cafes and restaurants being able to move to outdoor dining only from next week and children returning to school in term four remains a strong possibility, according to Premier Daniel Andrews.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said the mood of residents in her city had changed noticeably in the last two weeks.
"People have become angrier, more disillusioned and more disappointed," she said.
"Last Sunday there was an expectation restrictions in regional Victoria were going to ease due to all the things asked of them by government being done.
"But when that didn't happen I was in shock.
"Regional and rural councils around Victoria are continually putting forward solutions to government for their areas to move safely forward, but they have been largely ignored."
There are 74 active cases in regional Victoria including four more at Colac and the emergence of a mystery case at Echuca.
In encouraging news the 14-day regional daily case average sits under the required benchmark of five at 4.7.
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said this weekend's changes were a "Mickey Mouse" relaxation of stage three.
But he sensed the government would respond to major push back on its road map for regional Victoria.
"We should have been shifting back to stage two restrictions," he said.
"As we all know and as the Premier should know we haven't had a COVID-19 case here at any stage.
"The records will show Wodonga with two and Indigo and Alpine one each but they were never here.
"They were people in Melbourne using outdated addresses.
"Despite months of denial, the Victorian government finally appears to have worked out its contact tracing with whiteboards and butcher's paper need to be fixed.
"They are getting teams trained in NSW, they are buying the software they were first offered in March.
"My team has been out visiting businesses and the stories are heartbreaking."
Mr Andrews has flagged tougher policing of city residents travelling from their COVID hotspots to regional Victoria when restrictions in country areas ease as early as next week.
"We will have more to say next week about some changes, and some even further measures to make sure that that Melbourne regional Victoria border is as hard as it can be," he said.
"(Country communities) jealously guard the low virus status across regional Victoria, and they want that protected.
"And that's exactly what we will do.
"I want regional Victoria to take not just one step, but if the numbers allow, two steps.
"We're doing a power of work at the moment to be ready for that.
"That can occur next week."