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November 24, 2020

The City of Adelaide will not provide new financial assistance for last week’s partial lockdown

“It’s a bit of a shame they’re not offering anything,” one Central Market Arcade trader tells CityMag. “I’d want to be offered something.”

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Pictures: Johnny von Einem


Just weeks after the City of Adelaide announced it spent $174,000 on a pigeon sculpture (called Pigeon, pictured above), commander of the City of Adelaide’s council incident management team, Vanessa Godden, tells CityMag no decision has yet been made to provide further financial assistance for businesses in the CBD that have incurred losses as a result of last week’s short-lived hard lockdown.

“I suggest you contact State Government on this as they lead the COVID response,” Vanessa said via email.

At midnight on Wednesday, South Australia plummeted into three days of hard lockdown. Postcode 5000 was sent into hibernation, but CityMag heard reports of falling patronage well before the stay-at-home order commenced.   

We spoke to hospitality and live music venue owners at the beginning of this period and heard how restrictions aiming to squash the Parafield cluster were bringing some businesses to their knees.

Matt Greco manages Central Market Arcade produce stall McMahon’s Fruit and Veg, and says he lost the equivalent of $12,000 worth of produce in one day last week.

He believes it’s a “real shame” the City of Adelaide won’t provide any additional financial support, as there were many who suffered.

“The butchers in here, I saw them just throwing out all the sausages,” he says.

“I’d want to be offered something. We deal with highly perishable foods and I especially just buy South Australian strawberries because they taste the nicest, but they go off the quickest.

“It’s a bit of a shame they’re not offering anything.”

Vanessa told CityMag any businesses in the CBD who were concerned about how the hard lockdown impacted them were “advised” last week to contact the free Business SA business advice hotline.

“We have also provided small to medium business advice about the State Government’s Small Business Grants,” she said.

Rundle Mall Management Authority general manager Johanna Williams said in a statement “providing enjoyable experiences both in and out of store is key to attracting visitors and encouraging them to stay” especially given the recent impacts of COVID-19.


Adelaide City Councillor Phil Martin is critical of the City of Adelaide’s response to last week’s mini-lockdown, saying that on Tuesday last week, he and councillor Anne Moran “pleaded” with the administration to amend the upcoming night’s agenda – which examined affordable housing among other issues – to discuss the unfolding events.

Tonight’s council meeting will review special discretionary rebates as a City of Adelaide business plan and budget.

“Our pleas fell on deaf ears, and this week again, we’re entering into a committee meeting and there is no COVID on the agenda,” Phil says.

While the City of Adelaide contributed to the State Government’s $10,000 and later $3,000 grant COVID-19 support programs, he also believes it came only after “the first insistence from the State Government.”

The lack of financial assistance for CBD businesses also falls in the shadow of an InDaily report two weeks ago, which revealed the City of Adelaide axed over 100 full-time jobs since the start of the pandemic.

“The extraordinary thing is that the only activity that was occurring in the City of Adelaide, when the second wave of the pandemic hit, was that we were issuing notices to staff about their being removed from the organisation,” Phil says.

Business SA CEO Martin Haese released a statement last Friday saying last week’s events had been a “roller coaster ride” for South Australian business owners, and was calling for, among other things, a “City Rescue Package”.

CityMag reached out to Martin about his proposed rescue package but didn’t hear back before deadline.

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