The Australian Retailers Association has welcomed the New South Wales Government's definition of 'essential retail' as the state continues to battle its COVID outbreak. 

Yesterday, Sydneysiders awoke to tighter restrictions, with non-essential retail forced to close from 11.59pm on Saturday evening. 

The closure of non-essential retail came as the state recorded 105 new COVID cases on Sunday. 

The mandated order also helps to clarify the definition of an 'essential retailer', which will come as a relief to retailers who have been calling for clarification on who can and can't be open since the lockdowns began. 

"The silver lining in all this is that we finally have a clear definition from the NSW Government on what is considered essential retail," ARA CEO Paul Zahra said.

"The previous three weeks have been incredibly confusing for businesses and consumers with no direction on retailers having to close.

"We’ve seen situations where smaller retailers have been open with no customers with government advice to only purchase ‘essential’ items which is open to interpretation.

"We now have a clear list on the types of retail business that can continue to open," he said.

The full list of retailers that can remain open is outlined below: 

  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores (including butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable, seafood and other food retailers)
  • kiosks and other small food and drink premises
  • petrol stations
  • liquor stores
  • chemists providing health, medical, maternity and baby supplies
  • banks and financial institutions
  • hardware, building supplies
  • landscaping material supplies
  • agricultural and rural supplies
  • pet supplies
  • post offices and newsagents
  • office supplies
  • garden centres and plant nurseries
  • vehicle hire premises, not including the premises at which vehicles are sold
  • shops that predominantly carry out repairs of mobile phones

Zahra added that most retailers that are closed have a digital option that customers can make the most of during lockdown. 

"Most retailers have a digital option, so if there are things you would normally buy in stores that are closed, consider click and collect, shop online and check out the takeaway and delivery options that are available.

"Every dollar you spend keeps someone in a job – it doesn’t matter if that purchase is made in a store or over the internet.

"Whilst this is a devastating blow for the businesses that will have to close, this at least provides some clarity and will hopefully see an end to the confusion around people shopping for essentials," he said. 

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