The state of Victoria is entering a seven day hard lockdown after recording 11 new cases overnight.
Victorians will only be able to leave the house for five key reasons: food and supplies; authorised work; care and caregiving; up to two hours of exercise; and, getting vaccinated.
Tellingly, these reasons don’t include the ability to go and shop outside of regular grocery visits, indicating another difficult week for retail in the state. According to ARA CEO Paul Zahra, Victorians have been to hell and back in the last year, and even a week of lost sales could be detrimental to some retailers.
“We support the Victorian Government in their response to keep the community safe, but we can’t ignore the significant impact this lockdown will have on retailers, the Melbourne CBD and small businesses in particular,” said Zahra.
“A seven-day lockdown is expected to cost retailers over a billion dollars in terms of lost trade. This isn’t just a financial cost, it’s a social one as well. This lockdown will have an enormous impact on people’s health and wellbeing and will shatter fragile confidence levels for the second half of the year.”
Zahra noted that online, click and collect and home delivery is still available in Victoria, and urged people to use these options where possible.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb also expressed concern for the welfare of Victorian businesses through this lockdown – with the lack of JobKeeper opening up possibilities of layoffs should the lockdown be extended.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc across the entire country over the last 12 months, but none more so than Victoria,” Lamb said.
“Foot traffic across major shopping precincts worsens with each lockdown, the Melbourne CBD has tracked consistently at 40 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
“Government support will be needed otherwise businesses and jobs across Australia’s second largest state will be in jeopardy. Not only are retailers hurt during the actual lockdown period, but even when restrictions are eased we don’t see economic activity return to normal like flicking a switch.”