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.
ARA CEO, Paul Zahra said today’s announcement of the closure of non-essential retail in South Australia was 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.”
South Australia recorded a third COVID-19 case today, prompting the return of Level 4 restrictions from tonight. The only retailers able to remain open include pharmacies, supermarkets, laundromats, drycleaners, mechanics, post offices, banks and safety supply stores.
“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,” said Mr Zahra.
He said the situation once again highlighted how important it was to expediate Australia’s COVID-19 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,” Mr Zahra said.
South Australia’s health authorities will review the state’s restrictions on Friday.