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ARA disappointed, concerned with continued Melbourne retail shutdown

Australian Retailers Association boss Paul Zahra is disappointed hibernating businesses in Victoria are still being kept in the dark as to when they will be able to reopen their doors.

The claims came after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the 14-day rolling infection target needed to lift restrictions is unlikely to be hit before next week, dashing hopes of an early reopening for retailers.

“This is a serious blow to Victorian retailers who were led to believe they could open next week and get ready for the Christmas rush,” Zahra said.

As it stands, many retail businesses in Melbourne have been shut down for more than sixty days straight, and with Christmas a little over seventy days away, tensions are running high.

“Beyond the disappointment, we are also gravely concerned by the fact we have not seen any specific plan that will guide retailers through the restart process,” Zahra said.

“Most retail workers have face-to-face interactions with their customers, so it is imperative that they have a full understanding of any additional Covid-19 protocols that maybe currently being contemplated. And, with Christmas 75 days away, additional time and planning is also necessary to physically prepare the stores for the critically important holiday trading period.”

According to Zahra, other consumer-facing sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, have received restart guidelines from the Government, but retailers have so far been left out – something he warns could result in hazardous conditions for customers and staff alike when the industry does reopen.

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