MEMBER for Mildura Ali Cupper says the State Government's "road map" for easing of COVID-19 restrictions will be of no comfort for people in northwest Victoria.
"I do not believe the easing of restrictions reflects our reality," Ms Cupper said on Sunday.
"It is disappointing the announcements today did not allow for more businesses to start reopening – especially in our hospitality and tourism sectors.
"Small business has taken a huge hit already over the past few months, and this could be the death knell for many. That's heartbreaking.
"The lack of certainty and clarity around these issues will be particularly hard for people to accept, and that's understandable."
From September 13, regional Victoria will remain in Step 2 of the government's four-step process.The main changes to the current Stage 3 restrictions allow:
· Public gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors;
· People who are single or live alone can have one nominated visitor to their house;
· Schools returning from Term 4;
· Outdoor playgrounds and outdoor pools to reopen; and
· Outdoor religious gatherings of up to five people, plus on faith leader.
Ms Cupper questioned the government's grouping of regional Victoria holistically.
"Some local government areas have had no COVID-19 cases at all; in Mildura we have had six cases in total attributed to us – yet we are having to endure these restrictions because of cases in regions literally hundreds of kilometres away," she said.
"This doesn't seem to make sense.
"And we also face the added burden of border closures both with NSW and South Australia, which just adds to the stress of my constituents."
Moving to Step 3 of the process will only happen when regional Victoria reaches less than five new cases on average over 14 days and zero cases with an unknown source.
Ms Cupper said she would continue to lobby the Victorian Government for more tailored response to restrictions in regional Victoria.
"I will continue to fight for our region to have proportionate restrictions in place that protect our public safety while allowing us to get back to some normality, but in the meantime I ask people to stay the course," she said.
"The last thing we can afford is for people to turn on each other. We need to stick together to get through this. I understand people will be angry and upset at today's announcement but we need to look out for each other at this difficult time."