As the death toll climbs inexorably toward 1000, clearly the loss of life from this frightening virus is of most impact. Fear is now rippling around the world.
This fear will be of ongoing impact even after the disease has been controlled. It was something of a shock to attend Box Hill Central mid-afternoon last week. As shown in the accompanying photo of the fruit & vegetable area, this normally bustling precinct is close to being a ghost town. Business is hurting. It seems that another centre of gravity for our Chinese community, The Glen, is suffering a similar fate, with just a fraction of the normal custom.
This, on top of the fires that have destroyed whole communities in so many regional areas, affects how people feel. How confident they are to spend money. Think restaurants, grocers, butchers etc. The financial impact will shake our economy and our feeling of well-being for some time to come. Then there are the students who are committed to courses and to rental agreements, whilst unable to even return to Australia. We are yet to see how this massive disruption will flow through both the economy and our community.
Whilst this crisis would have to drag on and continue to escalate to start to affect the property market, this is small solace for so many in our community. Our thoughts go out to not only those directly affected but also those feeling the financial heat. If you have an opportunity to visit or shop any of these affected businesses, whether from the virus fallout or from the fires, make the effort. And be grateful it isn’t you.