After a nervous three-days in lockdown, Queensland retailers will be able to reopen starting midday Thursday after the state confirmed just one positive case of community transmission overnight.
While staff and customers will both need to wear masks for the next two weeks, and Brisbanites who are already in quarantine will need to stay for the full 14 days, businesses will be able to trade as long as they can abide by the government’s 2 square metre rule.
Affected areas included the Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Moreton and Brisbane council areas.
“We will also ask you to wear those masks in indoor spaces such as shopping centres and supermarkets, indoor workplaces, public transport,” Queensland state premier Annastacia Plaszczuk said at a press conference on Thursday morning.
“We are not out of the woods yet. I’m asking Queenslanders, all Queenslanders, for the next two weeks if we all do the right thing, we can get through this together.”
The National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said she hoped the state government would take a ‘light touch’ approach to business following the lockdown’s end.
“While we understand the need for the initial closure, to give contract tracers a chance to catch up, we also need to balance that with the need to protect businesses and jobs,” Lamb said.
“Throughout the early phase of the pandemic 12 months ago, and in all the time since – including the busy Christmas and Boxing Day period – Queensland retailers have shown that they can safely manage the situation.
“Of all the major Covid hotspots that Queensland has seen, none of them has been linked to a retail store.”
Lamb also shot down calls that trade should be opened up on Good Friday this year, stating while the idea had merit it would be too difficult to implement in such a short timeframe.
“Frankly, any change would require State Parliament to change the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act, which can’t happen,” Lamb said. “What this does show, however, is the need for greater flexibility in trading hours laws. We once would have had the ability to ask the Industrial Relations Commission for flexibility to deal with emerging issues such as Covid-19.”