, ‘Hell and back’: Retailers’ $1bn blow, Nzuchi Times

‘Hell and back’: Retailers’ $1bn blow

, ‘Hell and back’: Retailers’ $1bn blow, Nzuchi Times

As Victoria is plunged into another lockdown, there are fears it will cause a “devastating blow” to retailers and consumer and business confidence.

More than a billion dollars of trade is tipped to be lost during the state‘s seven-day lockdown, which starts at midnight on Thursday night, according to Australian Retailers Association (ARA) chief Paul Zahra.

He said the association supported the government’s response to keep residents safe but could not ignore the “significant impact” the lockdown would bring to the CBD and small businesses.

“Victorians have been to hell and back over the past year or so, and just when we thought the worst of Covid was behind us, it’s reared its head again mid-year,“ Mr Zahra said.

“Businesses no longer have JobKeeper support payments available to them, and Victorian small businesses in particular will be under significant stress – this is a huge blow to their confidence.“

He reminded the community that click and collect as well as home delivery options were available for consumers to continue buying goods while at home.

The ARA has called for vaccinations to be bolstered, improved contact tracing as well as targeted support to continue for Melbourne’s CBD and small business.

Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said the sector needed “urgent” government support that should have been announced alongside the decision for another lockdown.

“It was extremely disappointing that this was missed from the press conference today,” she said.

“We were having a renaissance of businesses opening, especially in the hospitality sector, unparalleled anywhere in Australia.

“Our community’s mental health and reliving the trauma from 2020 is of my highest concern.”

This will be the fourth lockdown the state will endure within 12 months.

Acting Premier James Merlino announced the lockdown on Thursday morning and said Victorians could only leave home for five reasons:

  • Shopping for necessary goods and services
  • Authorised work or permitted education
  • Exercise – a two-hour limit with one other person
  • Care giving, compassionate, and medical reasons
  • To get vaccinated

A raft of restrictions were also announced where residents must wear masks both in and outdoors, can only shop or exercise within a 5km radius of their home, and public or private gatherings are not permitted.

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