The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has warned the week-long lockdown in Sydney will lead to at least half a billion dollars in lost retail trade, taking business and consumer confidence backwards.
The lockdown was announced today by the NSW Government in response to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, but the ARA says the restrictions are a massive blow for retailers already struggling from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.
"The NSW Government has done an admirable job keeping the state open throughout the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders are a measured response to the new COVID cases that continue to emerge," says ARA CEO Paul Zahra.
"We recognise the importance of containing the virus, but we can't ignore the fact these further restrictions come at great cost, particularly for small businesses in the CBD.
"The Sydney CBD was experiencing a slow and staggered recovery before this latest outbreak, due to large volumes of people working from home and the lack of tourists and international students. The stay-at-home orders for the next week will compound their pain."
In addition, Zahra is concerned many small businesses may struggle during the period without any government assistance.
"With a safety-net like JobKeeper no longer around, and much less stimulus in the economy, we hold concerns for those small businesses who were already at breaking point before this latest outbreak," says Zahra.
"Retailers and their teams, as always, will work cooperatively with government to comply with restrictions and help contain the spread of the virus.
"We ask customers within essential retail services to comply with instore protocols respectfully to help minimise the occurrence of instore disputes or aggression for these hard-working frontline staff."
Image by: Mw12310 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
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