The Avoca Hotel has been selected as one of 14 businesses across regional Victoria to take part in the state government's vaccinated economy trial.
The trial program comes as Victoria inches closer to the biggest step in the state's roadmap, the 80 per cent double vaccination mark, which is expected to be reached on or before November 5.
The trial started Monday with patrons of selected businesses needing to show evidence of being fully vaccinated through the Service Victoria app, Medicare app or smartphone wallet such as Google Pay or Apple Wallet.
A update to the Service Victoria app was released on Monday, allowing proof of vaccination to be seen as part of the process of checking into venues.
From Monday, venues like the Avoca Hotel will be able to have 30 patrons indoors and 100 patrons outdoors if all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated.
Avoca Hotel publican Ian Urquhart said he was 'stoked' to be included in the trial.
"It's not so much out of excitement, it's really about just realising that something's got to happen to open the economy back up again and, as a business in regional Victoria that's got the chance to do something about that, we're stepping up," he said.
"Obviously, there are benefits to us in that certainly we can get a few more patrons and stuff and that's clearly one of the reasons why we're doing it, but it's not the only reason."
Mr Urquhart said the trial would provide a boost to the business, which as been 'limping' along through the current restrictions.
"It's enormous. For example, at the moment, we have taken the decision not to open our restaurant because it's just not financially viable for us to do it, because for only ten indoor patrons, it's just not viable to have two menus running," he said.
"We've just been running our bar menu which we also make available to patrons sitting outside. Because we can only have 10 people inside, effectively, it means we've only been able to seat eight because that allows for some capacity for people to come in and out to place orders and buy beers and stuff like that.
"Everybody's been ringing and saying 'can we book in because we really want to come back to your restaurant' so it's been really good from that point of view so it's quite an exciting time for us."
The two-week first trial will then guide an expanded second phase of trials ahead of the 80 per cent double dose settings coming into effect.
The state government said direct support would be provided to each business through regionally-based trial case managers from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions as they prepare to welcome patrons and customers, and throughout the trials.
Mr Urquhart said he felt like he owed it to Melbourne hospitality businesses to take part in the trial.
"I just have enormous sympathy for our cousins who operate similar businesses in Melbourne who've just had no chance to get anything through this period. We've been very lucky so I think we owe it to them to do what we can to get this place open and up and running as quickly as we can for them," he said.
"From our point of view, we think it's all a very positive thing and we're looking forward to it working and doing our part to make sure it does work."
Pyrenees Shire is one of six regional local government areas to be included in the trial, alongside Bass Coast, Buloke, East Gippsland, Greater Bendigo and Warrnambool.
Other participants in the vaccinated economy trial include the Bendigo Art Gallery, Village Cinemas Bendigo, the Warrnambool Art Gallery and Warrnambool Racing Club for a race meeting this Thursday.
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