ACT Opposition leader Alistair Coe has criticised the ACT's coronavirus restrictions, saying "minimising risk for the sake of minimising risk" was absurd.
Speaking at a Australian Hotels Association forum with industry members on Thursday night, Mr Coe said the government was squeezing local businesses.
The hospitality industry has called for restrictions to be urgently eased to increase venues' capacity to help keep businesses viable when JobKeeper payments are reduced next month.
Mr Coe suggested elements of the territory's restrictions were not based on risk.
"Nobody wants to see us take unnecessary risk, but this idea of just minimising risk for the sake of minimising risk I think it is absurd," he said.
"Especially when over the border you've got Queanbeyan that is competing for business, competing for households, competing for events, competing for absolutely everything.
"Here it just seems we just keep on squeezing and squeezing. It means recognising government money is not actually government money, it's come from businesses, it's come from families."
The forum was not streamed or open to journalists, but a recording was sent to The Canberra Times.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr Coe said it was important to follow the evidence and make risk-based decisions.
"What we do need to make sure is everything we do is evidence-based, that we're responsible, and we take all reasonable steps to make sure we're managing the pandemic as best we currently can," he said.
He was asked whether he was suggesting chief health officer Kerryn Coleman's decisions were not evidence-based, but he did not directly answer the question.
"The Canberra Liberals have repeatedly said that it's so important that we have conditions in Canberra that support employment, that are safe, that are reasonable," he said.
"That has absolutely got to be our priority."
Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley said the hospitality industry desperately needed restrictions eased.
"In the short term the hospitality industry is facing a financial cliff," he said.
"That cliff arrives on the 1st of October. We need restrictions to change urgently. We can do so safely and we have made that point publicly and privately."
Mr Brierley hit out at the person who recorded the forum.
"It is disappointing that an individual has weaponized words of comfort given in response to the very real grief felt by operators in the hospitality industry," he said.
"As with our previous Kurrajong forum, candidates were encouraged to give consideration to the emotional and financial pain being felt in the hospitality industry.
"The individual who recorded the function should be more concerned with the 60 hospitality jobs being lost every day, rather than attempting to score cheap political points at the expense of the hospitality industry."
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said Dr Coleman had delivered a balanced and cautious approach.
"The government has consistently engaged with industry groups and community stakeholders right across the country and the community knowing we need to take a consultative, risk-based approach," she said.
"But ultimately the decisions are based on [Dr Coleman's] expertise and the expertise around the table at Australian Health Protection Principal Committee meetings."