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Aussies call for small retailers to be exempt from future lockdowns

New research reveals that a vast majority of Australians do not agree with the government-mandated business closures and do not want small businesses be subjected to these measures again should another lockdown occur.

The survey, commissioned by parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) involving 1010 Australians, found that 77 per cent think it was unfair that big retailers deemed essential services could continue trading during last years’ pandemic-induced lockdowns while small retailers had to close.

Even with the one-person-per-4sqm rule put in place to limit close contact and to slow the spread of the virus, the survey noted that some small retailers were forced to shut shop due to space limitations, something that 64 per cent of respondents thought was unnecessary in minimising the spread.

When asked if they would want both small and big retailers to remain open, should another lockdown occur, 88 per cent of the respondents agreed that all retailers should follow the same rules.

The survey was released on the heels of a recent seven-day lockdown in Melbourne which saw many local businesses hit hard and estimated to have cost them more than $1 billion. CP CCO Paul Roper noted that despite the Victorian Government providing a $250 million business support package – set to help 90,000 SME businesses and sole traders – consumers play a vital role in helping small retailers and small businesses recover.

“We know consumer confidence takes a hit each time a State goes into lockdown, which has a long-lasting impact on businesses,” Roper said. “We’ve also seen many retailers over the past 12 months go under as a result of these restrictions, and consumers want to avoid this continuing.

“Despite SMEs receiving some Government support, I encourage shoppers to support and spend with the small players, now more than ever” Roper added. “Small purchases can have a huge positive impact on a small retailer, particularly if there are multiple shoppers getting behind them. Support for businesses can also go beyond spending – with the power of social media and online reviews, a social post or a positive review about the business can be very impactful.

“It’s important that as our economy recovers, we show our support for the micro and small players – those most affected – and help them get through this challenging period,” Roper concluded.

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