October 22, 2021

Movement in the Sydney CBD increased to 27% of prepandemic levels in the first week after lockdown ended

Topic: Press Release, Special Poll
Finding No: 8816
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A special analysis of movement data in Australia’s Capital City CBDs since the COVID-19 pandemic
began shows movement in the Sydney CBD increased to 27% of pre-pandemic levels in the first
week after Greater Sydney’s 107-day lockdown ended.

The average 7-day movement level in the Sydney CBD hit a low of 8% of pre-pandemic levels in late July
and had increased to 17% before the lockdown ended on Monday October 11. In the first week of re-opening
average movement levels increased by 10% points to 27% - the highest level for over four months.

The short and sharp three-day lockdown in southern Tasmania led to a plunge in movement levels in the
Hobart CBD with the average 7-day movement levels at only 44% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-October.

The Greater Melbourne area has finally emerged from its sixth lockdown and we are told this will be the final
lockdown as over 70% of Victorians are now fully vaccinated. Average movement levels in the Melbourne
CBD were at only 18% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-October before the lockdown ended.

The movement levels in other Capital City CBDs have increased over the last few weeks as we move into
the warmer months. The Adelaide CBD is again the standout with average movement levels closest to prepandemic ‘normal’ at 76% - the highest level of movement for over five months since early May.

Australian Capital City CBDs average 7-day movement levels March 1, 2020 – October 18, 2021:
% Movement is compared to the 7-day average in Jan-Feb 2020

Source: Roy Morgan collaboration with UberMedia who provide anonymous aggregated insights using mobile location
data. Note: Movement data for the Capital City CBDs excludes the residents of the respective CBDs.

The latest vaccination figures from the Health Department show over 34 million vaccination doses have been administered to 86% of the adult population and over 70% of Australian adults are now fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates are highest in jurisdictions that have recently been in lockdown with over 80% of the adult population in NSW and the ACT and over 70% of the adult population in Victoria and Tasmania now fully vaccinated. All four jurisdictions have emerged from lockdowns of varying lengths in the last two weeks.

However, vaccination levels remain far lower in South Australia (61% fully vaccinated), Queensland (59%) and Western Australia (58%). The Queensland Government has now announced that the State will re-open its borders to New South Wales and Victoria by December 17 however it appears likely the Western Australian border will remain closed until next year.

Roy Morgan has partnered with leading technology innovator UberMedia to aggregate data from tens of thousands of mobile devices to assess the movements of Australians as we deal with the restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interactive dashboard available on the website tracks the movement data for those visiting the Capital City CBDs during 2020 and 2021, excluding the CBD residents of each city. Movement data from several key locations around Australia is also available to view by using the interactive dashboard.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says the end of the Greater Sydney lockdown has led to a sharp increase in movement levels in the Sydney CBD, however there is a long way to go with movement in the first week post-lockdown at only 27% of pre-pandemic levels:

“Over the last two weeks four Australian cities have emerged from lockdowns ranging from the 107-day lockdown of Greater Sydney (June 26– October 10, 2021) to the short three-day
lockdown of southern Tasmania including Hobart (October 16-18, 2021).

“The final city to emerge is Greater Melbourne which endured a record sixth lockdown lasting 77 days (August 6– October 21, 2021) and a total period in lockdown of around 9 months since the pandemic began. Average movement levels in the Melbourne CBD were at only 18% of pre-pandemic levels during the last week of lockdown– lower than any other Capital City.

“All four of these locations have high rates of vaccination with over 80% of adults in NSW and the ACT fully vaccinated and over 70% of adults in Victoria and Tasmania fully vaccinated. The high – and increasing – rates of vaccination should mean there are no more ‘blanket’ lockdowns for these jurisdictions.

“The re-opening of NSW and Victoria is set to speed up in November with the international border lowered as fully vaccinated returning travellers with a negative COVID-19 test will no longer need to spend time in hotel quarantine in either State.

“Although at this stage only Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to travel to Australia, it should not be long until international travellers from countries with high rates of vaccination are also able to come to Australia without enduring hotel quarantine.

“However, there is still more work to do with vaccination levels in Queensland, WA and SA still lagging well behind. Queensland has announced it will open its domestic border in December and South Australia has pledged to re-open for Christmas but West Australian Premier Mark McGowan is set to keep the WA border closed until next year.

“Until there is freedom of movement around the entire country we will be yet to fully enter ‘COVID-normal’ but the end of long lockdowns in Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT is a big step on the way to moving past the pandemic over the next few months.”


Michele Levine – direct: 03 9224 5215 | mobile: 0411 129 093 | Michele.Levine@roymorgan.com.

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is Australia’s largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each
state, as well as in the U.S. and U.K. A full-service research organisation, Roy Morgan has over 75
years’ experience collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

About UberMedia

UberMedia provides the highest quality mobile data solutions to creatively solve businesses
persistent challenges. The company’s products process billions of social, demographic, and
location signals daily across retail, automotive, and entertainment to better understand modern
consumers with the most accurate business decision science

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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