As the Victoria continues to lower confirmed cases across the state a number of restrictions have been eased, allowing about 127,000 workers to return safely to work.
And while many restrictions facing the retail industry remain in force, as of Monday morning distribution centres can return to fully staffed levels after weeks of no more than two-thirds of staff working at a time.
With more staff, however, comes more obligations. Employers will be expected to more regularly test staff, deep clean nightly, provide adequate training for staff, and keep workers separated into consistent bubbles.
Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra said the change will go a long way to lessen the burden of retail stock shortages, especially in the lead up to the demanding Christmas period.
“As Victoria is a central point for distribution and freight for many national operations, getting these centres back to capacity now will have an impact not only on the retail industry in Victoria, but nationally,” Zahra said.
However, with infection rates equaling levels seen in New South Wales in August – when retail was fully open – prompted Zahra to question why the industry couldn’t be opened in Melbourne.
“We remain deeply concerned about the closure of retail until mid to late October at the earliest – that is simply too close to Christmas trading to allow viable retail activity,” Zahra said.