Tax and rental relief must be offered to hundreds of businesses should the government's three-day lockdown extend beyond this evening, a leading advocacy group warns.

Committee for Brisbane fears the cost of a lengthy lockdown could reach billions of dollars with the CBD expected to remain a ghost town on Monday as office staff stay at home and tourists are kept away.

Committee President Mike Gillen said small and medium businesses in the CBD, Queensland's economic heart, could face serious trouble if the lockdown is extended.

"If this does go on for any longer than three days there must be some considerations for rental and tax relief," he said.

An empty Southbank beach during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
An empty Southbank beach during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

"It all comes down to whether we get a good result at 6pm.

"If it's not good news it will affect the city's recovery."

Mr Gillen said the three-day lockdown was the "correct decision" despite the economic hit.

"There will be no activity, commuter traffic in the city but the potential consequences are dire if we don't take this action now," he said.

"Small and medium businesses will be the hardest hit but I hope it doesn't last any longer."

Prior to Friday's lockdown life in Brisbane's CBD was slowly returning to normal after months of chaos.

An empty Westfield Chermside shopping centre. Sunday January 10, 2021. Picture, John Gass
An empty Westfield Chermside shopping centre. Sunday January 10, 2021. Picture, John Gass

An economic study commissioned by the Committee for Brisbane found the city had been "shocked to the core" by COVID-19 as soaring vacancy rates and a growing number of stay-at-home workers threw the future into uncertainty.

Mr Gillen said there were optimistic signs people were returning before this weekend's lockdown.

"We're heading into a period which celebrates the city, one of those positive periods where the city functions effectively as people comes back from holidays," he said.

"If we get a bad news story there is no doubt this pain will run for some considerable time."

 

Originally published as Tax, rent relief 'essential' if lockdown drags on


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