Sydney city businesses face ‘financial ruin’ unless workers return to CBD, government warnedPosted by On

The Perrottet government has been warned city businesses face “financial ruin” unless it orders public servants back to the office and offers new incentives to attract workers back to the CBD – especially on Mondays and Fridays.

With COVID-19 cases subsiding and spring in the air, a range of business groups, politicians and stakeholders have called on the government to exhume plans it abandoned earlier this year in the face of Omicron and floods.

Russell James attends to the locks of a client in his Sydney CBD salon.

Russell James attends to the locks of a client in his Sydney CBD salon.Credit:James Alcock

CBD hairdresser Russell James said he was still trading 50 per cent down on pre-COVID figures as people were reluctant to come back to the city, using spurious excuses such as bad weather to stay home.

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“It’s just people being lazy,” he said. “There has got to be a push for people to get back into their offices, to be reminded that this was only ever a temporary measure. Stop pussy footing around.”

Business Sydney said it was disappointing the government had shelved its “Thank God It’s Friday” lunch vouchers – announced with fanfare in June 2021, days before the onset of the Delta wave, to encourage people back into the CBD on the final working day of the week.

It said the vouchers should be brought back for spring, and the government should consider free public transport on Fridays for six months.

“You can see there aren’t a lot of people in the city on Monday and Friday,” said Business Sydney executive director Paul…

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