What will one of the world’s most liveable cities look like after a second lockdown?
For seven years straight, Melbourne was voted the ‘most liveable city’ on the Global Liveability Index, and remains in the top five even in 2020. The recent global pandemic has hit Melbourne hard, however, with a spike in cases leading to a second, quite strict lockdown. The popular city saw a record spike of 671 coronavirus cases in one day, and Premier Daniel Andrews was quick to announce a second stage 4 lockdown for the safety of Melbourne citizens.
Australians have been quick to take to any new lockdown rules, and have dealt with the pandemic admirably. In order to come out on the other side, some sacrifices have to be made. Although the people in Melbourne are upset about a second lockdown, they know this is the only way to get back to any kind of normal. So, what will that look like after winter?
Cool city status
Melbourne is often touted as the cooler, more settled destination than its Australian counterparts. While tourists flock to Sydney, new arrivals find Melbourne as the place to hang around a while longer in. It has a distinctly European feel to it, and there is no shortage of things to do, places to eat, and activities to engage in. With a top ranking in the best cities to live in — and a UNESCO City of Literature award to boot — Melbourne has been a hotspot of culture and cool for almost a decade. The city thrives on galleries, cafes, restaurants, and a diverse mix of people from all backgrounds enjoying everything Melbourne has to offer.
Sense of community
If there’s one thing that has come from lockdown, it is a renewed sense of community. Melbourne citizens are no longer able to fill cafes and restaurants or peruse the latest exhibition at a gallery, becoming homebodies instead. Families are closer-knit, neighbours are looking out for each other, and everyone is finding themselves actually using their smartphones for their best purpose: connecting with each other. It may be difficult for the younger folks who prefer exploration and opportunity, but if there’s one thing Australians are known for, it is resilience and humour in adversity.
The current lockdown is a quick and sensible approach to the recent spike in cases, and one that is sorely needed in the US, where records are consistently met and broken. Premier Daniel Andrews proposed a mere six weeks of a stage 4 lockdown, including an overnight curfew, which seems like an easy sacrifice to make for Victorians who want to see a rapid return to their beloved city. This doesn’t seem like such a terrible exchange compared to the ongoing horror of the US, where few sacrifices have been made at all.
Businesses will adapt
Although many businesses have had to close or significantly reduce their opening hours or alter their operations, many are optimistic. Six weeks is a small price to pay, and a reemergence seems likely once the lockdown is over. For businesses that self-funded without profit for 12 or even 24 months at the start of their operations, a six-week pause will be difficult but not impossible. Many will be adapting to the change with takeaway and ordering options in lieu of dine in where they can.
Victorians are optimistic about a return to normal and a reemergence of their beloved city. A willingness to stick to the rules and a sense of community will help not only return the city to its former glory but also reshape it into an even better version.
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