After strong bounce backs in June and July, spending in the hospitality sector significantly reduced in August.
Consumer spending data from Zip revealed the downturn, with spending down at cafes (-24% year-on-year) and restaurants (-18%) throughout last month.
Zip’s Weekly Spending Index, which draws from transactions of more than 1.8 million Australians, has been tracking consumer spending throughout the pandemic. While the hospitality industry was hard hit in April due to nation-wide restrictions on dine-in trade, spending at restaurants and cafes began recovering in May. The positive trends continued through June and July, before Melbourne entered its second lockdown.
Stage four restrictions in Melbourne and stage three restrictions in regional Victoria have seen venues limited to takeaway and delivery for an extended period.
“Melbourne’s importance to the national economy was highlighted throughout August,” says ZIP co-founder and COO Peter Gray.
“Hard restrictions and lockdown measures are causing incredible strain on businesses. Hospitality, tourism and the arts are industries integral to the Victorian and Australian economy and each saw significant damage throughout August, despite optimistic signs of recovery throughout June and July.
“The extension to JobKeeper and access to alternative forms of responsible credit, like Zip, have kept money flowing through the economy – however, until businesses are again able to fully open for business in Melbourne, Australia’s economic recovery cannot happen.
“Melbourne’s recovery, therefore, is critical to Australia’s recovery.”
Industry leaders have called on the Victorian government to ease restrictions on dine-in earlier, forming the It’s Time campaign. The group is arguing for broader trading to commence ahead of the currently flagged date of 26 October.
Instead, operators are suggesting a maximum of 50 patrons per enclosed space for both outdoor and indoor dining as well as observing social distancing, density requirements, contact recording and appropriate sanitation