Business owners along the coast say vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.
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LOCAL business owners are hoping the vaccine rollout will give them their livelihoods back after facing changing restrictions as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Apollo Bay Bakery owner Sally Cannon said the latest Victorian lockdown hit her coastal home hard with the absence of JobKeeper leaving tourist towns looking for a way out of the pandemic.
"The place was dead during COVID-19 restrictions," she said.
"There was not a single person on the footpath, from one end of the town to the other - it was a ghost town."
The business owner and Apollo Bay Football Club president said she decided to get the vaccine to keep her town safe.
"I really believe this is the only way to get back to the way things were before the outbreak," she said.
"COVID hurt my business the first time because there were no longer any international tourists but take away the domestic tourists as well and there is no way we can carry on."
Fellow tourism towns are facing similar concerns, with Lorne businesswoman Anna McIldowie among the many in the community trying to protect the elderly community while desperately awaiting the return of visitors.
The In the Skies Art and Music owner said through a close friend stuck in London she has witnessed the impacts of the virus spiralling out of control.
"She's stuck in London, unable to get home to her family, watching with disbelief that Australia hasn't already seized the opportunity to vaccinate the majority of the population," Ms McIldowie said.
"It is an amazing thing to be protected.
"This is the golden period for getting vaccinated in Australia, while we have the virus under control – the whole continent can be saved."
"I just hope we don't waste this incredible opportunity."
HAH Lorne beach cafe owner Katy Walker said getting vaccinated is about giving back to the community she has been a part of for 15 years.
Ms Walker, who is also a CFA first responder, said she "loves her small coastal town with a passion" while understanding the significance of living in a region with a small health service and ageing population.
"I've already had a second dose of Pfizer and it's a great feeling," she said.
"To be able to get vaccinated was a no-brainer for me.
"I want to travel, so the sooner we get vaccinated, the sooner that will become possible again."
Ms Walker said her business had suffered throughout the pandemic, but she believed the last lockdown was the most damaging for businesses and the mental health in the area.
"There is no other way out of this," she said.
"In my opinion, vaccination is the only way back."