Visitors return as city reopens for business

Pedestrian activity in the City of Melbourne has doubled compared to the past three-week average as the city reopens for business and visitors start to return.

​City of Melbourne’s pedestrian sensor network shows that pedestrian activity levels were at 30 per cent of pre-COVID levels on Wednesday compared to this time last year.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said COVID-safe measures were in place to welcome people back to the city safely.

“It’s wonderful to see Melburnians back in the city enjoying our shops, cafes and restaurants and bringing a sense of activity back to our streets,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We reopened our visitor booth in Bourke Street Mall this week to help people discover the shopping, dining and visitor attractions that have reopened. Our staff members provide a trusted, friendly face to help welcome people back to the city.

“A COVID-safe environment is really important to encouraging people back and we’ve had the city cleaning teams focus on hotspots to keep the city clean and safe.

“We also have a team of safety and support officers out on our streets helping businesses and visitors to maintain COVID-safe behaviour and physical distancing.

“We will deliver art installations and other pop-up activities to bring life back to the city over spring and the vital Christmas period.”

The City of Melbourne has undertaken a number of infrastructure projects to create more space for people and support physical distancing as visitors and workers return.

“Our much-loved hospitality venues are taking to the streets with footpaths and car parking spaces transformed into spaces for outdoor dining,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The city’s Little Streets now feature speed limits of 20 kilometres per hour and pedestrian priority zones where motorists and cyclists give way to people walking. This means people can spread out and use the entire street when they are walking and shopping.

“Forty kilometres of fast-tracked bike lanes are also well underway to make it safer for people to ride into the city. This frees up space on public transport for those who need to travel in from outer suburbs.”

Key bicycle routes have been completed on Albert Street, Drummond Street, Faraday Street, Canning Street, William Street, Abbotsford Street and on Swanston Street near the University of Melbourne.

The Lord Mayor said returning workers are central to city reactivation and the City of Melbourne’s Reactivation and Recovery Plan includes an initiative for major employers to pledge the safe and staged return of their workforces to the CBD.

“Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, more than one million people came into the city each day. City workers are a valued part of our visitor population and are critical to ensuring the vibrancy of Melbourne and the viability of local businesses and organisations,” the Lord Mayor said.

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