Another lockdown for Victoria

As the Covid cluster kept growing, the writing was on the wall―Premier Daniel Andrews announced another lockdown on Friday for Melbourne and Victoria.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO, Paul Zahra, says it is a devastating blow for Victorian retailers.

“They’ve been through so much in the past year and have done their best to return to an even footing in recent months,” he says in a statement.

“Unfortunately, some of the horrors of 2020 continue. We certainly hope the Victorian health authorities get on top of this quickly and that this lockdown doesn’t drag out for longer than it needs to.”

Zahra adds that we need to learn to live with the virus and manage things in a responsible way without devastating business and livelihoods.

“It’s time to have consistency from state and territory governments when it comes to Covid restrictions. At the moment, businesses are at the mercy of the different approaches from the various Premiers with very little planning time around what the latest restrictions mean.

“The uncertainty and confusion around ‘trigger points’ has been a confidence killer and one of the key lessons out of this pandemic is to have a nationally consistent approach, with clear criteria, so business can at least operate with some sort of certainty.”

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO, Dominique Lamb, says Victorian retailers were just getting back up on their feet following the two lockdowns that occurred last year in the state.

“Unfortunately, it’s a case of groundhog day for Victorian retailers who are set to endure their third hard lockdown in less than 12 months,” she says.

“Although this lockdown is only due to last five days, that can still have a massive disruption on a business. Many retailers can’t just shut and open their business like flicking on a switch―they need to ensure sufficient stock levels, organise rosters and comply with updated safety restrictions.

“Adding to the pain is the fact that Victorian retailers were just getting back on their feet following the second lockdown, notching up a record $14.4 billion in sales for Christmas 2020.”