Ballarat residents have expressed their delight after premier Daniel Andrews gave regional Victorians the green light to have more social interactions with friends and family in their homes from early Monday morning.
The premier outlined some further eased restrictions for regional Victorians on Sunday, which included the removal of the "social bubble".
This means that from Monday, regional Victorians will be allowed to welcome two adults and their dependents into their home each day.
The idea of the social bubble, which meant a household could form a bubble with one other, will no longer apply.
Speaking with Ballarat community members after the announcement, most people welcomed the announcement, as the state moves towards a new "COVID normal".
For Jenny Walters, more social freedoms means seeing more of her family and grandchildren.
Living alone, the eased restrictions mean that she will be able to invite different family members over on different days.
While most of her family lives in regional Victoria, she has been keeping in contact with family members living in Melbourne on the phone.
"Keeping in touch with one another makes it better, especially for people sitting at home on their own," she said.
Shopping with one of her seven grandchildren on Sunday, she acknowledged she was "one of the lucky ones". While she said other people might not be happy with the announcement, she said we all needed to do "what we can to get to the other end".
Father Ben Doidge said while the lockdown was something that had to be done, it had been difficult with young children who didn't fully understand why they couldn't go to the playground.
"For the most part of the year it's been almost void socially," he said. "But now there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Another father, Daniel Rowe, had similar feelings. This year has been a challenge for him, but he said the easing of restrictions and more freedom of movement was a positive step.
With the removal of the household bubble, his children are looking forward to seeing their cousins and their friends.
Meanwhile, Jessica Meyer is trying to keep a positive perspective, even though the eased social restrictions won't allow her to see her family just yet.
While it was initially nice to spend quiet time at home, she is increasingly missing all of her family in Melbourne.
Acknowledging that restrictions are for the greater good, she said she was still missing her family, especially her mum, but was being positive with the knowledge that it would come to an end soon.
"It will have some knock-on effects but there have been some silver linings - taking the time to take life a little slower and thinking about what you really do miss, which for me, was being with people," she said.
A secondary school teacher, this year has meant juggling teaching her students with overseeing her own children's remote learning, and said it had been much more challenging during the second lockdown.
Ms Meyer said her children, 11-year-old Zoe and 7-year-old Sadie, had also felt the impacts of the lockdown - meaning they could not see their friends or go for sleepovers, so were looking forward to doing so in coming weeks.
And with both herself and her own children back in their respective classrooms, she said the increased social interaction during the last couple of weeks had been "great".