Melbourne‘s Second Lockdown Will Exact a ’Catastrophic Cost

  • July 18, 2020 7:03 AM EDT
    Melbourne‘s Hotel Esplanade was just emerging from a two-month lockdown when it learned a second wave of virus infections would force it to shut again. Like hundreds of businesses across Australia’s second-largest city, it fears the impact this time will be worse.To get more news about WikiFX, you can visit wikifx news official website.   “The first lockdown for hospitality was devastating,” said Andy Mullins, one of the co-owners of the beachside suburb pub affectionately known as The Espy. “I fear the second will be catastrophic.”   The six-week stay-at-home order that came into force at midnight across the Victoria state capital is set to devastate the citys restaurants, cafes, beauty spas and small retailers, which were just taking their first tentative steps back to business-as-usual.   The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne, on Jul 9.   Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg   The sweeping restrictions threaten to deepen and prolong Australias first recession in almost 30 years. Victoria contributes about one-quarter of gross domestic product, but is now isolated from the rest of the country as other states shutter their borders against a worrying spike in community transmission.   Read More: The Mistakes That Pushed an Australian City Back Into Lockdown Melbournes travails also provide a cautionary tale for other big, service economy-driven cities such as London, that are reopening pubs and restaurants in a bid to jump-start their crippled economies. Εικόνα   Australia had enjoyed early success in crushing the curve of virus infections by shutting its international border, social distancing measures and a widespread testing and tracing regime.   But a mixture of complacency as restrictions were eased, and missteps in the quarantining of travelers returning from overseas, has seen a fresh outbreak in Victoria. The state has now seen more than two weeks of double-digit daily increases and reported 165 new cases on Thursday.   Customers have manicures on the night before a city lock down in Melbourne, on July 8.   Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg   The city of 5 million people prides itself on its world-class restaurants, vibrant cafe scene, and passionate sports fans, who flock to the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch Australian Football League matches.   Now, thats all gone dark again.   “I am incredibly concerned for our small businesses in the restaurant, bar, club and hotel sector,” said Ana Marinkovic, head of small-business lending at Melbourne-based National Australia Bank Ltd., which has temporarily closed two office towers in the city while most staff work from home.   “They have just started to pick up and we have even had a small proportion of customers resume their payments,” she said. “Obviously all of that is going to get set back significantly.”   Read more: Australia Banks Extend Loan Holiday as 800,000 Defer Payment   While the stay-at-home order only applies to metropolitan Melbourne -- ranked as the worlds second-most liveable city last year -- its effects will be felt across the state.
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