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How is each state easing retail restrictions?

After the national cabinet’s announcement of a three-stage road map to the easing of lockdown restrictions on Friday, state governments across the country have detailed what this will mean for residents and retailers.

But as each state government is setting out to integrate the easing differently, Inside Retail has collated the information to limit confusion for the national and local businesses open for trade.

According to property firm Scentre Group, 57 per cent of retailers are now open, with “significantly” more to reopen over the coming weeks as these changes come into effect. 

New South Wales

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Sunday the changes would come through on Friday 15 May, and will allow up to 10 people to gather outdoors for recreational activities.

Additionally, cafes, restaurants and retailers will be able to have 10 patrons inside at a time – a major boom for the number of retailers that have recently reopened. 

“Please acknowledge the easing of these restrictions is a sign about how far we’ve come, but please also acknowledge that all of us need to maintain our vigilance,” Berejiklian said. 

Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has not yet announced how the Victorian Government will ease restrictions, with the state having been in a state of emergency since March 16. 

Instead, Andrews said he would be making a series of announcements throughout the upcoming week to inform the public of the government’s plan. 

Queensland

While some restrictions eased in Queensland over the weekend for the Mother’s Day holiday, Saturday 16 May will see retailers able to accept up to 10 patrons into bricks-and-mortar locations.

Additionally, up to 20 people will be able to dine in at outback pubs and cafes. 

South Australia

Starting Monday, alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants will be allowed in South Australia.  

More restrictions are to be relaxed in June.

Western Australia

Western Australia will allow cafes and restaurants to serve up to 20 patrons from Monday 18 May, with group gatherings allowed up to 20 as well.

Businesses are expected to retain the one person per four-square metre rule, and supply hand sanitiser.

Tasmania

While Tasmania is likely to remain closed off for several months, an easing of restrictions will begin on Monday 18 May, with cafes, restaurants and retailers able to serve up to 10 people at a time. 

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government has said it will remove most restrictions on businesses by early June.

Friday May 15 will see the reopening of restaurants, cafes and bars – provided bar-goers are purchasing food.

A two-hour time limit will be placed on ‘indoor activity’, which will be removed on Friday June 5, though businesses will be required to complete a safety plan to ensure good hygiene. 

ACT

Likewise, the Australian Capital Territory didn’t make any specific promises, instead stating it will look at relaxing restrictions on businesses in the coming weeks. 

Ten person limit comes under fire

The federal government’s three-stage plan, while promising, also raised questions from retail industry groups on whether serving 10 customers at a time would be enough to buoy the flagging industry.

National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb expressed concern over how the maximum limit would impact restaurants. 

“It’s hard to make money running a restaurant in the good times, being limited to only ten customers at a time is unlikely to see a venue raise enough revenue to cover supply costs, overheads and staff costs,” Lamb said.

“We understand the need the prioritise public safety, but any easing of restrictions is pointless unless they are also economically viable.”

Australian Retailers Association managing director Paul Zahra said that while the change would bring enthusiastic shoppers, the overall mood remains cautious. 

“We want to see a safe recovery – not a false start, which can be costly for retailers,” Zahra said. 

“Whilst there is still some pain to come for retailers and the Australian economy in general, ARA is confident there are good fundamentals in place to shift from crisis mode towards a slow recovery.”

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