Time for national lockdown approach with retail closed in three states

Monday 19 July 2021

Australia’s peak body for retail, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has called for a national approach to be put in place for lockdowns, as the third state closes its retail doors this week.

In addition to the seven billion at risk with the NSW and Victorian lockdowns, a further quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of retail trade is now at risk due to the restrictions back in place in South Australia following new Covid cases in the community.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the closure of non-essential retail is a devastating blow at short notice.

“We estimate $250 million worth of retail trade in South Australia is at risk due to the new restrictions that will be in place until Friday,” Mr Zahra said.

“This is particularly damaging for small businesses that will have to close, which just compounds the pain they were feeling from the sluggish Covid recovery.

“The ARA is again calling for a national approach to managing Covid lockdowns and restrictions. There’s too many inconsistencies across the states and territories whenever new restrictions are put in place. We still don’t have a clear definition of ‘essential retail’ which just adds to the confusion for businesses and consumers. This creates more pain and chaos for businesses with a national footprint, as their stores are affected in different ways depending on what city they’re in.

“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.

“Vaccines are the only way we’ll see an end to these sort of restrictions that are so damaging to businesses and livelihoods.”

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