The NSW government’s Covid-19 recovery roadmap has been welcomed by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA).
According to the roadmap released yesterday, stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be lifted from the Monday after NSW passes the 70% double vaccination target.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra says the roadmap follows significant ARA and industry collaboration and is a huge relief for retailers who can look forward to welcoming back customers once the target is reached.
“As we all know, the NSW lockdown is taking a significant toll on peoples financial, emotional and mental health, which is clearly not sustainable,” he says.
“At last, people and businesses have hope for the future and a clearer idea of what life will look like after lockdown. Importantly, some regional NSW businesses will have an immediate reprieve from lockdown restrictions [from Saturday, 11 September].
“Whilst we don’t have a specific date, NSW is tracking well for 70% of the population to be fully vaccinated by mid-October. This will allow many businesses to plan with a greater degree of certainty and for a reopening of their premises in line with Covid-safe protocols.”
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says that easing restrictions in October would be great for the state’s retailers and industry was keen to engage with the government to ensure there’s clarity as to how NSW would begin to reopen.
“Retailers welcome [the] announcement by the state government and we look forward to working with them to ensure that there’s a smooth transition out of lockdown,” she says.
The industry says it’s vital that the state reopens in the months leading up to Christmas.
“The timing for reopening is incredibly important as we head into the busy Christmas shopping season, when most discretionary retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits for the year,” says Mr Zahra.
Similarly, Ms Lamb says: “We need Australia’s largest state open as soon as possible in time for the Christmas trade period. That’s why it’s important the NSW public continue getting vaccinated at the incredible rate they have.”
A number of details, however, must now be addressed in the meantime.
“Issues such as mandatory vaccinations for workers, enforcing customer vaccination certification, and ensuring businesses have enough lead time before opening up all need clarification,” says Ms Lamb.