Business leaders are calling on Ballarat to preserve its relatively safe status as coronavirus cases climb and more communities are restricted.
On Thursday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced mandatory wearing of masks across the entire state from Sunday night, with a $200 fine for non-compliance.
Residents in Moorabool and Golden Plains shires, as well as Greater Geelong, Colac-Otway, Queenscliff, and Surf Coast shires, will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes, or visit other homes.
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The announcement came after Victoria recorded its highest daily number of new confirmed cases, at 723, and 13 more deaths - cases remain stable here.
In Ballarat, people will still be allowed to visit each other's homes, but not homes in the "Geelong corridor" which faces extra restrictions.
While the masks are now mandatory, other rules will remain the same - no more than 20 people gathering in businesses, and no more than five people gathering indoors or 10 people outdoors.
Hospitality and other businesses will remain open in Ballarat, and in Moorabool and Golden Plains - Mr Andrews said this was because they were controlled environments.
"The transmission (is) not in cafes and restaurants, it is in small homes, from one family to another, it's groups of visitors getting it from a family who might not know they are infected, or vice versa," he said.
The stage three stay-at-home lockdown will remain in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
Ballarat hospitality venues and business groups have stepped up their efforts to keep the community safe, performing strict identification checks on patrons to ensure they are not from those locked-down areas.
The Western Hotel's Dan Cronin said Ballarat residents should be confident hospitality providers were continuing to provide a safe and comfortable environment.
"We don't want to end up like venues in Sydney, with clusters - that's why we're doing what we're doing," he said.
"We're doing everything possible to stay open - identification checks are just one of the many things we're doing as an industry to stay open and keep our community safe."
People from lockdown areas who are commuting to Ballarat for work are still required to follow the four rules for leaving their house - that is, they can do so for work or study if they are unable to do so from home, for care or caregiving, for essential supplies, or for local exercise.
This does not include going to the pub and potentially infecting others, Mr Cronin said.
"If you're asked for identification when you enter or come in for your booking, it's to protect our community, it's to stop transient people coming out of Melbourne," he said.
Commerce Ballarat has also urged employers across the city if they have workers coming from Melbourne to make sure they're doing the right thing.
In an email to members, chief executive Jodie Gillett wrote there were too many stories of people coming from Melbourne to eat, drink, or shop in Ballarat, which is putting the community at risk.
"We absolutely understand how difficult it must be to turn trade away right now so we thank you for protecting our community, your employees and of course your business," she wrote.
"Keep up the great work, and if you are an employer with people travelling from Melbourne please ensure they understand the rules they must abide by."
Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said in a statement it was "crucial" for workers and business owners to do the right thing.
"Restrictions that apply in Melbourne follow a person who travels to Ballarat for work," she said.
"That means that workers from Melbourne cannot eat at restaurants and cafes or go to the pub for a drink in Ballarat. It's black and white."
Mr Cronin added he was grateful to the broader Ballarat community for supporting local businesses.
"The community support that local businesses have received is just phenomenal, it's heartwarming and a bit overwhelming at times," he said.
"Ballarat has rallied around local business, and protected local jobs."
Mr Andrews said the mask and home visit measures will help keep numbers low, and there were no plans "at this stage" to further restrict movement between Ballarat and other areas.
"If you're from one of those six local government areas, well, you'll be wearing a mask wherever you go in regional Victoria," he said.
"Those restrictions follow you - inside the six (local government areas), no one can be going to anybody's house, and no one should be coming from outside that zone - from Ballarat, say, to Barwon Heads, and going to a dinner party."
However, he flagged that there are communities that are being closely watched.
"I would say there are a number of other communities that are kind of 'watch and act', to use those terms we use every summer when it comes to fire," he said.
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"We've got a number of other communities on close watch and we're very carefully looking at all the other cases and we're trying to pounce on them as quickly as we can so we can keep those numbers low and not have to make changes to the rules in say Ballarat, or Bendigo or any part of regional Victoria.
"I must stress this, we always we always act on advice but we always reserve the right to go further in the event the advice changes, because the advice doesn't have an agenda other than trying to stop the spread of the virus, and circumstances can change."
Remember to maintain good hand hygiene, wear a mask when in public, and keep a 1.5 metre distance from others at all times.
For more information, visit the DHHS website.
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