Melbourne’s CBD is a ghost town

Data from the City of Melbourne shows that 28% of businesses in the CBD are vacant or remain closed, despite the fact that COVID-19 restrictions have been eased.

An average of 911,000 people travelled into the CBD on every work day prior to the pandemic. Weekday pedestrian numbers have returned to about 50% of pre-coronavirus levels, although foot traffic on weekends is still only about 30%.

Meanwhile, Melbourne City Council is getting desperate, voting to offer free parking to visitors in order to encourage people to return to the CBD:

The alarming figures were revealed at a Melbourne City Council meeting on Tuesday night, where councillors resolved to offer free parking to visitors in an “extraordinary” attempt to lure people back to the CBD.

Job losses in inner Melbourne have eclipsed those in other parts of the state. Since March, 13.2 per cent of jobs have been wiped out, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

This compares to a Victorian average of 6 per cent and an Australian average of 3 per cent.

Across the municipality, an estimated 2000 businesses are either closed or empty, leaving thousands out of work.

“This is an economic crisis which has very real consequences for the people of our city,” deputy lord mayor Nicholas Reece said.

“It is bad out there at the moment. We need in extraordinary times to be taking extraordinary measures.”

Data from Roy Morgan shows that people movements across Melbourne’s CBDs has barely recovered from stage 4 shutdowns, tracking around 70% below pre-COVID levels:

Melbourne’s CBD will continue to struggle so long as working from home continues and international students remain blocked from arriving, a large number of whom tend to live and/or congregate in the CBD.

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