Ballarat's mayor has come forward to ask Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to consider speeding up regional Victoria's easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor said while it was not as simple as opening up the region, considerations needed to be made by the Premier in terms of the time-frame set out in the Victorian Government's COVID-roadmap.
As it stands now, regional Victoria is scheduled to reach the fourth step on November 23, around two months away.
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Cr Taylor said the time-frame may need to be adjusted given how well regional Victoria and Ballarat are doing in terms of limiting new COVID-19 cases. It has been a month since the City of Ballarat recorded a new infection.
"I've been saying this all along, regional Victorians need to be considered differently to Melbourne," he said.
"We really welcomed the government's plan for indoor dining, but two months until the next step is a long time to wait considering we're sitting on such low numbers.
"Is there an opportunity for the Premier to review those dates? I think that's something he has indicated that could happen, however for me, I really want to see the Premier looking at opportunities as easing those restrictions and helping regional try to return to some sort of normal."
Speaking in his press conference on Wednesday, Mr Andrews said while there is potential to open up faster, regional Victoria's numbers will be monitored for a longer period before any decisions are made.
"We're very closely monitoring what the virus is doing," he said.
"As soon as we can take further steps that are safe, of course we'll do that.
"The numbers could tell you that it's safe to go faster than we had planned and made clear in that roadmap but not enough time has passed to have that underlying confidence that we're not missing something. There will be more virus out there than the case numbers than I report every day. We look each day at the data and we'll take whatever steps we can, when we can do that safely."
As well as increasing venue capacities for hospitality businesses, the 'fourth step' will allow up to 20 visitors in a home, 50 people at weddings and funerals, and could lead to entertainment businesses and live music venues opening up.
Exercise facilities would reopen and community sport could restart.
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