CBD businesses bouncing back from COVID-19 disruptions
Published on 09 September 2021
New data from the City of Launceston shows that the number of ground floor shops open for business in Launceston's CBD has rapidly improved in the wake of disruptions caused by COVID19 last year.
At the height of last year's lockdown, Council data shows that the number of vacant ground floor shops rose to 154 in the Launceston CBD, out of a total of approximately 600 ground floor business premises.
Post lockdown, recent data shows that Launceston's CBD has rebounded to 57 vacant ground floor shops.
This equates to 93% of ground floor commercial space currently being utilised and open for business in Launceston's CBD.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said it was pleasing to see how quickly the majority of CBD businesses had resumed trading in the wake of last year's lockdown but also cautioned that businesses relying on tourism were still feeling the impact.
"Early in the pandemic the City of Launceston moved quickly to develop its $10m Community Care and Recovery package, which included $465,000 in fee relief for businesses, $700,000 in business grants, a six-month rates remission for eligible businesses and more," Mayor van Zetten said.
"Along with measures from the State and Federal Governments, the City of Launceston's proactive initiative in this area helped shore up small businesses, saved jobs, and allowed businesses to move to new modes of trade.
"It's pleasing to see that the majority of CBD businesses were able to bounce back from lockdown in a relatively short amount of time and that the percentage of our ground floor CBD shops that are open for business are back to pre-COVID levels.
"This positive result is no doubt heavily influenced by Northern Tasmanians choosing to shop locally, and to support local businesses, and that's a great community effort.
"Combined with data showing Launceston is experiencing a planning a development boom, there's reason to be optimistic about the city's economic future."
Cityprom Executive Officer Amanda McEvoy said a diverse range of new businesses had opened in Launceston's CBD in the past 12 months.
"We’ve welcomed a range of exciting new businesses including national chains like Platypus Shoes and Oscar Wylee through to new local and Tasmanian businesses such as Tamar Valley Candles, Quintoxic Books, Glazed and Confused pottery and Dragonfly Tea Attelier," Ms McEvoy said.
"Public interest and enthusiasm on our social media for these new businesses in the city has been fantastic.
"We encourage anyone who has not been into the city for a while to come and spend some time exploring the outstanding retail, service and hospitality offerings we have throughout the city centre.
"It’s so important we keep shopping local and support our community so we see this wide range of boutique and well known retailers continue to grow and add to Launceston’s economic growth and job creation."
Mayor van Zetten said the Launceston City Deal had been a strong contributor to investor confidence in the city.
Figures from the 2020-21 financial year show the City of Launceston approved 771 planning applications worth $383,657,211 across the municipality, smashing the previous record — set the year before — of 673 planning applications worth $215,005,934.
"Within one kilometre of the CBD, there have been 100 development applications since January 2020 at an estimated value of $53 million," Mayor van Zetten said.
"Two of the key Launceston City Deal commitments — the University of Tasmania Inveresk Relocation and a renewed focus on CBD in-fill development — are also having a positive impact."
"It's fantastic news for Launceston that a range of indicators are showing positive trends as we seek to make Launceston one of the most liveable regional cities in Australia."
"With a focus on inner city living, we are seeing more coffee shops, restaurants and services opening in the city centre. There really is a trend towards the city centre providing people with an experience which is really exciting."
"Despite these good signs, we understand that the tourism industry is still feeling the impacts of border closures and we encourage all of our residents to continue supporting our local businesses by dining in our local restaurants, shopping in our retail precincts, spending the weekend experiencing one of our fabulous attractions or even consider taking a staycation holiday in Northern Tasmania."