Another $1 billion worth of retail trade is at risk now that Victoria has entered a five-day snap lockdown, adding to an expected $6 billion already at stake due to the extended NSW lockdown.
The estimates have been released by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), whose CEO Paul Zahra says the latest announcement takes the total number of state-imposed lockdowns nationwide to 68 days so far this year.
"Victorians have been to hell and back over the past 18 months and lockdowns have sadly become a way of life," he says.
"The impact will be immense - we estimate another billion dollars' worth of retail trade is at risk, and many small businesses are past breaking point.
"Vulnerable businesses, in particular CBD retailers, hospitality and beauty businesses have yet to recover from the last lockdown in June, and unfortunately now, it's back to square one."
The ARA is continuing to work the Federal Government on how the retail industry can assist in the vaccine rollout.
"NSW and Victoria are the engine rooms of the national economy, and with Australia's two largest states now in lockdown, our pandemic recovery is in a precarious position," Zahra says.
"Retailers respect and support the health measures in place and have worked around the clock to protect their staff and customers from COVID.
"However, with this situation stretching into a new financial year it's clear that vaccines are our only ticket to freedom and the only way we'll see an end to lockdowns and restrictions that are crippling so many businesses and livelihoods."
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