Coffee sellers a sign of pandemic desperation

Our second largest state by population, Victoria, is caught in a Covid no man’s land and faces a recession that could rank with 1990. As in past economic crisis situations, you can smell trouble when desperate property owners make silly decisions.

In 2021 they are embracing the notion that community coffee drinking and multiple coffee shops can get them out of trouble.

Below I will canvass a way to avoid the worst of the crisis and some good news on the Australian medical front.

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is under control in all states except NSW and Victoria.

In NSW businesses went into the current crisis in better shape than Victoria because the 2020 restrictions in NSW were nothing like Victoria and enterprises in both states had been helped by JobKeeper and a rash of consumer spending.

This time around NSW lost control of the virus but the lockdown impact on its already sound enterprises was muted because many Sydney residents ignored the rules. The consequent high rates of infection then drove them to vaccines and they will reach the 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets very quickly, although the need to vaccinate children will cause a delay. Internally NSW therefore will open up before catastrophic damage takes place, although borders with other states may remain closed.

Victorian lockdown rules were harsher and better obeyed. But Delta is too infectious and the state is very close to losing control. If it is possible, Victoria will only get Covid-19 under control with another long lockdown. Already battered enterprises without JobKeeper are starting to fall over.

Worse still, with the infection rate lower than NSW, and despite pleadings from Premier Daniel Andrews, Victorians are not taking up vaccines at the required rate. Too many say: “There is no hurry —we will wait for Pfizer”, not understanding that our scarce overseas-made Pfizer vaccines will be required for children. Panicked small shopping centre owners are converting empty shops and any spare space they can find into coffee-drinking venues with spaced tables.

Shocked renovators know they are destroying the centres and the lives of those that lease the coffee shops because there is already a glut and there is only so much coffee that can be consumed. Desperate decisions are being made in other business areas but alcohol retailers, especially those on line, are doing well.

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