Sydney CBD movements fail to launch after lockdown lifted

New Roy Morgan data on people movements shows that Sydney’s CBD traffic has only lifted to 27% of pre-pandemic levels despite reopening weeks ago:

A special analysis of movement data in Australia’s Capital City CBDs since the COVID-19 pandemic began shows movement in the Sydney CBD increased to 27% of pre-pandemic levels in the first week after Greater Sydney’s 107-day lockdown ended.

The average 7-day movement level in the Sydney CBD hit a low of 8% of pre-pandemic levels in late July and had increased to 17% before the lockdown ended on Monday October 11. In the first week of re-opening average movement levels increased by 10% points to 27% – the highest level for over four months.

The short and sharp three-day lockdown in southern Tasmania led to a plunge in movement levels in the Hobart CBD with the average 7-day movement levels at only 44% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-October…

The movement levels in other Capital City CBDs have increased over the last few weeks as we move into the warmer months. The Adelaide CBD is again the standout with average movement levels closest to pre-pandemic ‘normal’ at 76% – the highest level of movement for over five months since early May…

People movements across Sydney and Melbourne should obviously lift further as restrictions are further eased. The rebooting of international travel and migration should also lift movements.

For mine, the most interesting statistic comes from Perth and Adelaide, which have been largely virus free. There, CBD people movements remain around one-quarter below normal levels.

This suggests the upper limit of people movements across Australian CBDs post pandemic will likely be below pre-COVID levels as more people work from home.

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