The most significant easing of restrictions in Victoria since the coronavirus second wave forced the state into another shutdown has been welcomed by Wodonga business owners.
Premier Daniel Andrews' series of announcements including relaxation on mask wearing, more people allowed at pubs, cafes and restaurants and the green light for bigger gatherings at weddings and funerals from today are a step in the right direction.
Wodonga's BeanStation cafe has already had a surge of customers since the "ring of steel" between Melbourne and regional areas came off a fortnight ago with the hunt for experienced staff, particularly chefs, a challenge for owner, Rod Ayton.
"Last weekend was our busiest weekend in nearly six and a half months," he said.
"The mask rule changes will definitely help Wodonga being on the border.
"It's great to see people out and about, the markets happening again.
"People are seeing the easing of restrictions as a chance to relax, but we can't afford to relax too much and people need to keep doing what we're being asked to do."
PT Fitness gym owner Nic Conway said up to 150 people allowed on site was definitely a boost for his industry.
"We've been lucky we've had an outdoor space we could use," he said.
"It's certainly better because a lot of people want to go to the gym for more than just fitness.
"It's ironic mental health can be improved by going to a gym, but gyms were one of the things restricted the most."
Brad Lodding, who opened a pop-up shoe shop in Albury last week to overcome a downturn in trade he attributed to mask rules in Victoria, said changes for Victoria were a "big step" forward.
"In a perfect world we would be on a level playing field with Albury, but it's a start," he said.
"Hopefully in a couple of weeks they will be dropped completely as we head towards Christmas.
"Changes were well and truly due."
Despite the relaxation on mask wearing rules, Mr Lodding still plans to keep his Albury shop open until at least January to capture some of the back-to-school requirements.