Melbourne has broken Buenos Aires record for the world's most lockdown city with another three weeks likely to go, but there is reason for optimism.
Melbourne officially overtook Argentina’s capital city at 8pm on Sunday as the global city to have spent the most time in lockdown, although the specific rules each city has had to abide by shifts dramatically.
Unfortunately for Melburnians, the city is now set to break that record by 22 days with lockdown restrictions not set to ease until October 26 (indicatively) when the city reaches its 70% of over-16s fully vaccinated threshold.
What you need to know
- Melbourne has set the record for most lockdown city in the world
- We’re set to now overtake Buenos Aires’ 244 days by another 22 days before scheduled reopening
- Melbourne does have significant advantages over other cities near the top of this record
Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.
In a point of positivity for the unwanted record, Melburnians have spent their lockdown period in one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Sydney and Melbourne are among the greenest cities in the entire world, with Melbourne University pointing out that four out of five Melburnians live within 400 metres of a green space.
By contrast, Buenos Aires is actually among the least green cities in the entire world – a record it shares with the likes of Mumbai – with only about 1.8 square metres per capita of green space.
Likewise, there are a raft of initiatives – which have been coming thick and fast for weeks now – to revitalise the city further post-pandemic.
However, there are clearly significant pressures remaining on Melburnians, especially the city’s event scene.
The last threshold – 80% of eligible Melburnians single-dose vaccinated – was hit behind the government’s initial roadmap schedule, so that October 26 date remains uncertain. By that time, Melbourne will have been in lockdown for 268 days, compared to Buenos Aires’ 244.
When those restrictions ease, changes won’t apply to a full range of businesses reopening, with Melbourne’s live music and events industry still facing uncertain reopening schedules well into 2022, a point of serious concern within the industry.
“There is no roadmap to reopening Victoria’s music venues,” live music collective Save Our Scene recently said in a statement. “The current roadmap ends at a one-person-per-four-metres square density quotient for venues, which is a fraction of our normal licensed capacity.
“You can have up to 150 people, but only if your venue is over 600 square metres – that’s the Forum. Most venues cannot open at all at that level, and no venue can trade sustainably.”
Indicative dates in the Victorian state government roadmap include:
- 26 September: 80 per cent of Victorians expected to have had at least one vaccination dose. This is Phase A of the National Plan.
- 26 October: 70 per cent of Victorians expected to have had both vaccination doses. This is Phase B of the National Plan and lockdown will end in Melbourne.
- 5 November: 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over expected to have had both vaccination doses. This is Phase C of the National Plan, and regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will come together under the same rules.
- 19 November: once 80 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated, restrictions will align with Phase D of the National Plan.
Their research also found that Melbourne has the most equitable distribution of green space among Australia’s capital cities.