Time to roll up sleeves for small business

The National Retail Association (NRA) is urging Australians to roll up their sleeves for small businesses and get vaccinated, declaring it “the only way to end sudden lockdowns.”

The Victorian Government has, this afternoon, announced a week-long round of restrictions, which means Australia’s three largest cities are now in lockdown.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says: “Australians have shown they are more than willing to help out local small businesses right throughout the worst parts of the Covid-19 response – prioritising local small business and spending money to help retailers stay afloat.

“We appreciate the efforts of so many who have supported small business throughout the pandemic. But we just can’t keep living like this forever and the Prime Minister says a 70 per cent vaccination rate is the trigger to end the lockdowns.

“We now have Australia’s three largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – all in lockdown. We need every Australian to do their part so we can put an end to this cycle of openings and closings and allow local small businesses to simply get on with employing local people and serving their customers,” Ms Lamb said in a statement.

“So the message of retailers today is very clear – please roll up your sleeves for your local small business.”

Ms Lamb also called on the State and Federal Governments to re-examine options for financial support for affected businesses and workers.

“We know they have done this in New South Wales, and we know there are talks about how it could work nationally.  It’s time to just get it done,” Ms Lamb said.

“Right now in affected areas of Melbourne – restaurants, cafes and other fresh food vendors – will be throwing out perfectly good produce that they won’t be able to sell due to the lockdown.

“Other businesses such as hairdressers and small specialty retailers will be forced to go without income for the next three days at least.

“They need help to survive, and we are calling on both levels of Government to step up and provide it.”

Delta delivers another knockout blow for Victorian retailers

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra says Victoria’s sixth lockdown of the pandemic is a knockout blow for many battle-weary businesses that are on the brink of financial, emotional and mental health collapse.

“This is the news no Victorian wanted to hear, but the sad reality is that whilst vaccination rates remain low, lockdowns are the only weapon we have to contain the Delta variant from spreading far and wide throughout our communities,” Mr Zahra said.

“More than half of Australia is now in a lockdown, with Victoria joining Greater Sydney and surrounding regions, along with South-East Queensland.

“A state-wide lockdown in Victoria puts around a billion dollars’ worth for retail trade at risk. What’s equally as damaging is the emotional cost, with Victorians only recently emerging from their last lockdown. Just as businesses were opening their doors, they’ve been turned off again like a light switch.

“Commonwealth and State Government supports only go so far. The trauma and anguish these lockdowns cause will be felt long after they are gone.”

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