A new plan has been proposed that would see all city workers in Melbourne’s CBD getting a 4pm Friday knock-off and free public transport in an attempt to revitalise the city’s nightlife post-COVID. So, uhh, did somebody say knock off bevs?
The new proposal comes from the Property Council of Australia, who are pushing for state and local governments to introduce a “Fab Fridays” programme to get workers back in the office, and subsequently, back at the pub come 5pm on a Friday.
“Free public transport is just one way that will encourage Melburnians into the CBD on Fridays, with the extra incentive of knowing you’ll get home safely after a wonderful dinner and show,” Property Council Victorian executive director Danni Hunter said.
“We’re calling on CBD bosses to introduce a 4pm knock-off pledge, encouraging workers to leave the office together and either go for a walk through the city or enjoy a cheeky after-work drink.”
Under the Fab Fridays plan, workers would get a 4pm knock-off, public transport would be made free and the local government would launch festivals and events to encourage people to get out and about and make the most of their Friday afternoon.
Don’t go marking your calendars just yet because it’s all just a proposal right now, but it is understood that the City of Melbourne is already keen on the idea and are keen to negotiate the specifics.
However, if you *do* want to speculatively mark your calendar, the proposed date is expected to coincide with the start of the second school term in April.
The whole scheme is designed to help out struggling businesses in the CBD, which once thrived off the spending of office workers in the area.
According to Hunter, only 24% (aka less than a QUARTER) of workers have returned to their offices post-COVID, which is obviously not good for businesses as government subsidies like JobKeeper draw to an end.
“Fridays are about celebrating the week and anticipating the weekend,” she said, according to the Herald Sun.
“COVID has changed so many things about our life, but the joy of catching up in person with your colleagues and friends is irreplaceable and there’s no better place than in Melbourne’s CBD.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been able to get together properly be it in the office or at the pub, we know that people might need an incentive or two as extra motivation.”
There’s no official word from the government on if or when the Fab Fridays plan will come into action, but we’ll be sure to update you (from the pub) when we get some confirmation.