THE new financial year has marked a fresh start for a host of Ballarat businesses which are finally back operating.
From an old-new pub, to restaurants, accommodation providers and even a garden centre, there was plenty of cheer as businesses reopened their doors across Ballarat, many with a new look after four months of shutdowns.
One of the businesses to throw open its door again was Hydrant Food Hall in central Ballarat.
Owner Elise Rowe described the feeling of opening up to customers as "awesome".
"We took the opportunity during the closure to do some renovations which were always on the cards," Ms Rowe said.
"For us, takeaway wasn't really a viable option, so we shut down - fortunately some of our staff were able to access JobKeeper.
"There's been a number of physical changes, but as it's turned out the new restrictions and guidelines mean we've been able to create what has turned out to be a cleaner space.
'We've obviously got some new cleaning systems in place, and there's a greater space between tables."
Ms Rowe said the biggest issue facing the reopened business was limiting numbers to just 20 at a time for the foreseeable future.
"We've had such great support on our opening day, one of the tricky things has actually been counting the numbers to make sure we've not gone over the limit," she said.
"If the four square-metre rule is reduced a bit, we'll be able to go up to 45, which is still less than half our capacity.
"But above all, it's been really positive today, people have been so welcoming and everyone has adhered to our check-in codes and keeping their own space between others."
Also opening for the first time on Wednesday was the completely renovated North Star Hotel, formerly Seymours, in Lydiard Street, Soldiers Hill.
The new look pub has been taking bookings for the past week and was packed to the rafters for the opening day of lunches and dinners.
Indoor plant haven 'When Polly Met Murphy' in Doveton Street also opened its doors to customers to mark the start of the month.
In Sebastopol, the Ramada Resort returned to business with a 50 per cent capacity.
"We closed all our resorts in the South Pacific once the restrictions surrounding COVID-19 came into effect," Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific Vice President Operations Warren Cullum said.
"We are excited to reopen today and share the property enhancements we have made"
"The health and safety of our guests is our top priority so we have reworked our hygiene and cleanliness procedures to create the safest experience we can for guests.
"We are using hospital-grade disinfectants, regularly cleaning high-touch areas, setting out our common spaces for social distancing, making hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes more freely available for guests and much more."
Ms Rowe said it was clear on returning that many locals were keen to support local businesses in their recovery
"People understand it's not just a product, but it's locals running service business, people really do put in the hard yards," she said.
"It's helped people understand just how hard it is to run a business and how much of a difference having local support can make to everyone."
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