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Back in March, Time Out changed its name to Time In, as, all over the world, people were suddenly asked to stay indoors to protect themselves and others. Now, lockdowns are being relaxed in many countries, and many Melbourne businesses are open. But it’s becoming clear that social distancing in some form will be with us for the long run – and that spells danger for the places that make city life worth living.
Our editors have been seeking out the best of city life since 1968. We know that our cities are nothing without their restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, theatres, music venues, nightclubs, cinemas, art galleries – and all the other local, independently run places where people come together to eat, drink, laugh, think, create, cut loose and fall in love.
If we don’t take action right now, countless places like this will have to close their doors forever. Many venues, already struggling to pay their bills, face a total collapse in footfall or a huge bill to adapt to social distancing. And millions of bartenders, waiters, cooks, artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, designers and other creatives and makers have been left unable to earn a living.
We’re determined to help. That’s why, today, we’re launching our Love Local campaign by officially lending our voice to a number of crucial campaigns that are fighting to support local food, drink, culture and entertainment in cities worldwide.
First off, we're working to raise funds for Support Act. The Australian charity has been providing crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers for over 20 years. Thousands of arts workers have been ineligible for the government's JobKeeper scheme because of the contract nature of their work. The sector is in a real crisis – and there aren't many ways out.
Second, we're backing Keep Our Venues Alive, led by the Night Time Industries Association, which is chaired by Time Out Australia managing director Michael Rodrigues. Hospitality venues across the country have found themselves in a critical situation with rapidly falling numbers and restrictions on gatherings. Our bars, cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and the 900,000 people they employ, are going to be doing it pretty tough unless considerable financial help arrives immediately.
We’re proud to support them as they raise funds, spread the word and lobby decision-makers to support the local spots that keep our cities’ lifeblood pumping.
Editor, Time Out Melbourne