lunchtime in Adelaide

I still find it a depressing experience walking Adelaide's CBD post-Covid. Many of the lunch time cafe's and coffee shops continue to remain closed.  Will they ever open again? Will the pandemic shape Adelaide's future? What  might urban life look like on the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic?  How long before the CBD starts to be full of people? 

Judging from the lack of people in the city it appears that  many of the office  workers are still working from home. The density of the people in the city is certainly much less than in pre-Covid times and about half those walking the streets are wearing masks.  It was such a marked difference to Melbourne where hardly anyone wore face masks on the street. 

I drove into the city  early, noting the decreased commute during peak hour,  then walked the CBD  for  several hours between 8-10 am. The empty  and boarded-up shop fronts were still there, as were  the lack of  tourists and a  fear of contagion. I went to a meeting,  then walked for several hours during  the 12.30-2 pm lunch hours. It felt as if the  city that had more or  less grounded to a halt during Covid was  now struggling back to life. There are just pockets here and there of public life --people gathering  to relax and share food or drinks.

The images of empty public spaces that had come to define this  pandemic crisis are still relevant  in these 'living with Covid' times:

COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are increasing in Adelaide even though the  state’s QR code check-in system has been  “mothballed”, and now the wiring of masks in public.  Is social distancing is next? 

The emergence of the various  Omicron  variants, recombinants and hybrids of the Covid -19 virus highlights the  tension between between densification – the push towards cities becoming more concentrated-- and the need for disaggregation, the separating out of populations. Currently, there is a trend  of the more affluent taking advantage of remote working capabilities and moving to smaller towns and countryside settlements offering cheaper property and a higher quality of life than either Sydney or Melbourne.