The hospitality industry says the government's now postponed plan to increase capacity for small venues would have done little for local businesses or jobs and creates an uneven playing field.
However, those changes are now unlikely to go ahead after the ACT recorded three new cases of coronavirus.
The ACT had been preparing to ease of restrictions from midday Friday, to allow greater flexibility for small bars and restaurants. However, that's now effectively on hold.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it was likely the ACT would not move ahead with further easing of restrictions due for Friday.
"The community should expect the implementation of stage three is likely to be postponed until we have a better understanding of the Victorian outbreak and the impact on the ACT," he said.
"We cannot put the hard work of this community at risk by moving too far, too fast."
Under the previously proposed changes, businesses were going to be able to host 25 patrons at a time, or follow the one person per four square metres rule - whichever allows a greater number of people.
Brothels and strip clubs were also to be given the green light to reopen.
Before Mr Barr indicated the changes were likely to be put on hold, Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley said the changes offered no hope to stood-down hospitality employees desperate to get their jobs back.
He said the changes showed "glaring inconsistencies" allowing brothels to open but still banning people from drinking standing up.
"Today's minor change won't make any difference to the precarious financial position of hundreds of small businesswomen and men in Canberra's hospitality industry," he said.
"Having already been through so much, the Victorian situation has spooked our industry. Our industry would accept any underpinning health rationale for today's change - but the glaring inconsistencies cause us to doubt it even exists.
"Brothels can resume - obviously without social distancing - but heaven forbid patrons might be allowed to drink a beer standing up."
"Forty people are allowed to sweat and breathe all over each other in a game of community rugby, but our industry can't have 40 people in a small restaurant."
He said the 25 flat patron limit discriminated on the basis of venue size, despite costs per square metre being fixed.
"It is a market distortion that unjustifiably favours micro-venues without any explanation why," Mr Brierley said.
Australian Medical Association ACT president Antonio Di Dio said the changes struck the right balance between health concerns and economic implications.
"The easing of restrictions in Canberra is very appropriate," he said.
"We need desperately to have a functioning economy for the mental health of all Canberrans but also to help pay for all the care that's going to be required ... for really high levels of unemployment."