Shopping with purpose is the new mantra from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) as it aims to keep more stores open following a raft of new stay-at-home restrictions imposed by the NSW Government for greater Sydney.
The ARA has latched onto comments from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant around the types of stores that can remain opened during the current lockdown.
Chant has said shops remain a lower risk setting than others, especially with mask mandates in place.
Among the stores that can stay open in Greater Sydney are florists, variety retailers and lingerie stores, as well as supermarkets.
The ARA has estimated the current lockdown could cost retailers as much as $2 billion in lost revenue over two weeks.
ARA CEO }Paul Zahra agrees common sense should prevail, asking that the public shouldn't use a visit to the shops to socialise during the current lockdown.
"We appreciate there's a fair bit of confusion around the NSW Government's health advice on essential shopping, given there has been no directive on stores having to close," says Zahra.
"The facts are that retail can still open and people can go to stores for the goods and services they need. But if you do need to go to the shops, get in and get out without delay this is not a time for browsing or socialising."
Zahra has urged shoppers to go online when possible so that more retailers can be supported during this critical period.
"Most retailers have a digital option, so if there are things you would normally buy in stores, consider click and collect, shop online and check out the 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."
The newly tightened restrictions for Greater Sydney include a 10km radius limit for exercise, limiting the number of people who can exercise together to two, and a limit of 10 people at funerals from Sunday.
While the NSW Government is allowing more stores to remain open during the lockdown, it has urged the public to limit all journeys from the home for only essential goods and services.
"Retailers have worked incredibly hard and spared no expense to ensure their stores are COVID-safe, often going above and beyond safety requirements," says Zahra.
"Consumers can shop in stores with confidence knowing their health and safety is paramount.
"There's no doubt this is a devastating time for retailers in Greater Sydney, and for small businesses in particular. The cost of this lockdown is growing by the day, and sadly many will not survive."
Zahra points to lifting vaccination numbers as the key to reducing the impact the pandemic is having on the retail sector.
"It's our ticket to freedom, and retailers stand ready to support take up rates in any way it can."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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