Victoria lockdown begins; Melbourne COVID cases continue to grow; exposure site list increases

There’s no getting around the massive cost of lockdown to businesses. We’ve taken a look at this issue in a few different ways today.

City reporter Rachel Eddie talked to small businesses trying to scramble new plans into place yesterday and heard calls for greater assistance (read the story here) .

One of those was Shannon Martinez of Fitzroy restaurant Smith & Daughters was preparing to bag 200 litres of bolognese and 200 litres of bechamel sauce for freezing on Thursday. She’s trying desperately to find that kind of freezer space after the lockdown pulled the rug on her plans to serve meals at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of a now-cancelled RISING Festival show.

Shannon Martinez, of Smith & Daughters, is pictured at Sidney Myer Music Bowl with stock that will no longer be eaten by Rising festival-goers over the next seven days.

Shannon Martinez, of Smith & Daughters, is pictured at Sidney Myer Music Bowl with stock that will no longer be eaten by Rising festival-goers over the next seven days.Credit:Eddie Jim

Staff from her Brunswick Street restaurant will be redeployed to run deliveries for her deli, which booms during lockdown but will be hurt by the five-kilometre radius rule. Ms Martinez said the loss of JobKeeper would make a difference when she pays the wages of 42 staff. Casuals who could not be redeployed would be stood down for the week, she said.

This, of course, is the first big lockdown without JobKeeper in place and without the protections for tenants brought in to help cope with the loss of income that comes with lockdowns.

Sport is feeling it too. Peter Ryan reports that the loss of crowds and moving of fixtures is set to cost football clubs plenty. The Western Bulldogs will lose $300,000 when they compete in front of empty stands at Marvel Stadium against Melbourne tonight (I’ve tipped Melbourne partly thinking no crowds means less pressure, wrong?). It’s a similar story for Collingwood which will lose $1 million in revenue thanks to a crowdless MCG fixture with Geelong.

The hopeful news, brought to us by senior economics correspondent Shane Wright is that the bounceback from lockdowns has been surprisingly strong.

If past shutdowns to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in our major cities over recent months have proven anything, it is just how quickly the affected economy bounces back.

Here’s some of his column:

The shutdowns associated with Sydney’s northern beaches, Perth and Brisbane this year upended the business operations, shopping plans and promised holidays of millions of Australians.

Yet it is hard to discern those shutdowns in any official measures. Unemployment has continued to track down, retail spending remained elevated (shutdowns actually bring forward some spending, as toilet paper suppliers will attest) while even house prices climbed at extraordinary rates.

The number of people on JobSeeker, for instance, fell from 1.3 million at the start of the year to fewer than 1.1 million at the end of JobKeeper on March 28. There were sizeable falls in Queensland, Western Australia and NSW across that period even with their shutdowns.

You can read the full piece here.

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