- Office workers in non-public facing roles no longer need to wear masks
- Melbourne's office occupancy rate is 26% of pre-covid levels
- Calls for the Victorian government to increase public sector worker in the CBD
The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has welcomed the Victorian government’s decision to remove the indoor mask mandate for office workers.
Danni Hunter, the Victorian Executive Director of the PCA, said the announcement was an important step towards normalising life in the CBD after Melbourne’s most recent lockdown.
“This is an important move towards the reactivation of the Melbourne CBD”, she said.
“While lockdowns prohibit many from visiting the city, mask mandates and density quotients slow the return of workers to the CBD and are a handbrake on our local economy.
“Our iconic retail and hospitality sectors as well as many other small businesses rely on visitors to the CBD and we need to do everything we can to encourage people back to the city and enjoy all the wonderful things Melbourne has to offer.”
Danni Hunter, Property Council of Victoria
Last week, the PCA released their Office Occupancy Survey which showed the level of occupancy in Melbourne’s CBD had plummeted to 26% of pre-Covid levels. This is 42% behind Sydney and 45% for Brisbane.
Ms Hunter reiterated that the Victorian government needs to bolster the revitalisation of the CBD by enticing public sector workers to return.
“The Government can play a leading role in getting the CBD going again. Victorians are relying on their government to lead by example and help Melbourne recover its shine by getting thousands of public sector workers back to the office,” she said
“The role of the private sector is equally as important and we need the business community to take proactive action to encourage their employees back to the office for a greater portion of the working week.”
Mr Hunter also believes further mask mandates should be avoided in the office, citing that these environments are often safer than regular settings.
“Office density is often of a lower risk than normal settings, with the office often having density ratios of one person per ten-to-twelve square metres, far above the standard one person per four-square metres,” said Ms Hunter.
“When masks come off they should stay off unless necessary as we can’t continue to go through this cycle as we have been doing and not expect the CBD and the economy to suffer as a result.”