Sunday, July 21, 2024

NSW lockdown to cost retail $1.5b a week

Up to $1.5 billion worth of retail trade is at risk each week with the NSW lockdown now covering the entire state.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra says while the announcement came as no surprise, it cannot be ignored how devastating this news is to regional communities.

“Small businesses are the life blood of so many regional towns and the lockdown will come as quite a shock, given this is something many haven’t experienced since the very beginning of the pandemic,” he says.

“This announcement [came] with only a couple of hours’ notice, which [left] regional businesses scrambling, standing down staff, reorganising stock and bracing for an uncertain future.

“Existing state and federal supports provide some level of comfort; however, it won’t totally offset the losses many businesses are set to suffer.”

Mr Zahra encourages customers to continue supporting their local businesses by shopping online and using click-and-collect or checking out the takeaway and delivery options that might be available.

“Every dollar you spend keeps someone in a job,” he says.

Rent relief

Mr Zahra applauds the NSW government’s timely reinstatement of the mandatory Leasing Code of Conduct.

“The reinstatement of state-wide rent relief for small and medium size businesses is very fortunate timing – with rent one of the major stress points for retail businesses that are struggling with severely reduced income,” he says.

“This is a measure we have been championing with all state and territory governments for months given the severe stress that many small businesses are under.

“In addition to the financial toll, mental health concerns are growing for retailers as the lockdown impacts stretch on. It’s imperative that business owners and their teams reach out for support as needed, and we appeal to all Australians to remain respectful towards retail staff who are always looking out for the safety of their customers.”

Vaccinations

Mr Zahra also commends the NSW government for its leadership in continuing to prioritise essential retail worker for vaccination within key LGA’s.

The ARA has called for all retail workers to receive vaccination priority, given their frontline status and the vulnerability of essential retail workers during lockdowns.

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