In this edition we will look at the unprecedented and sudden downturn in volumes across carparks in Australia and how COVID 19 will fundamentally change the commercial landscape for parking operators and owners.
Authorities are trying to flatten the curve of infections to allow our medical system to cope. Isolation, quarantine and social distancing are important elements in containing the epidemic. We have already seen cancellation of all major sporting events and social gatherings limited to two people. Pubs, clubs, hotels, casinos and all convention and exhibition centres are closed. International travel is non-existent and domestic travel limited.
Qantas has laid off 20,000 workers, Virgin another 9,000 and the entire retail sector is on the verge of a complete shutdown as Myer prepares to close all its stores (with another 10,000 staff laid off) following Premier Investments and Kathmandu/Rip Curl. Corporate Australia is on a massive cost cutting exercise and parking is not immune.
You want free parking – you have now got it at Melbourne Airport! This follows on from Perth and Brisbane City Councils instigating free short-term parking in several areas. Perth City Council has also closed three carparks on the weekend. Brisbane Council has turned off 8,000 parking meters, will not issue fines and will offer $5 all day parking at its two main CBD car parks.
All of this has happened in less than a month – and we are only starting to see the impacts of rising unemployment.
COVID-19 will fundamentally change the parking industry in Australia.