A $3 billion blow for retail with Greater Sydney lockdown extended for another week

Wednesday 7 July 2021

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is calling for an expansion of business support measures with lost retail trade set to mount to around $3 billion as the Greater Sydney lockdown is extended for another week.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said today’s announcement is a bitter blow for small businesses in particular, who are hanging on for survival without a JobKeeper safety net.

“Whilst we are supportive of the NSW Government’s efforts to keep the community safe, we can’t ignore the devastating impacts this lockdown is having on retailers, and small businesses in particular,” Mr Zahra said.

“This lockdown is now set to cost around $3 billion in lost retail trade, which is just not sustainable without adequate support measures in place for businesses and their staff.

“We have grave concerns for smaller retailers in the CBD, who were already crippled by the ongoing Covid impacts before this latest outbreak, with low office populations and a lack of tourists contributing to sluggish trade throughout the pandemic.

“While some businesses can stay open through the current restrictions, the reality is people are not going to the shops in their usual numbers and many businesses have decided it’s not worth the trouble of opening their doors at all.”

Mr Zahra said there needs to be an expansion of existing support measures from the Federal and State Governments to help impacted businesses and staff.

“The Federal Government has activated Covid disaster payments, but this is only available for people who live and work in hotspot areas and there are many more in regional areas of NSW that are missing out,” Mr Zahra said.

“Whilst we are grateful for the business support grants and payroll tax deferrals from the NSW Government, this doesn’t go far enough to compensate the downturn businesses will suffer during a three-week lockdown.

“We certainly hope this lockdown doesn’t go on for longer than is absolutely necessary. This once again highlights how important it is to expediate Australia’s Covid vaccination program and the retail community stands ready to support this effort in any way it can.”

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