The Australian Retailers Association has bolstered its calls for a national approach to lockdowns, after South Australian non-essential retailers were forced to close at midnight. 

Following detection of five new COVID cases in the state, new restrictions were introduced at 12am 20 July and have been furthered this morning, plunging South Australia into an official lockdown for seven days from 6pm this evening. 

Before the seven-day lockdown was introduced this morning, the ARA estimated that alongside the $7 billion in lost retail trade across NSW and Victoria, the South Australian economy was set to lose approximately $250 million in retail trade in the original four-day restriction period. 

"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," ARA CEO Paul Zahra said. 

"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," he said. 

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