With people currently being told to stay at home and avoid crowds due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) expects the Easter holiday to be a quiet affair.
Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, said Easter, which falls on April 12 this year, is a good trading period for retailers especially if the weather is cold, which it has been, but people’s fears of the COVID-19 pandemic will make it a less crowded affair.
“We are not seeing big crowds visiting retailers now, so I’d suspect that we won’t be seeing much during the Easter period,” Zimmerman said.
“I don’t think the COVID-19 will be over by then, and that’s going to be very disappointing.”
Zimmerman said the pandemic will definitely impact Easter holiday sales this year.
“I think it’s fair to say that fears have created unnecessary panic in shoppers, hopefully by then retailers are well supplied. I hope people will buy what they need and not any more than that.”
The Easter trading period is shorter than the Christmas holiday period but Zimmerman said it is still recognised as a busy event for retailers. But, he said, at this stage, they don’t even know if shops will be allowed to stay open at this time.
“At this stage we’ve not been advised by anybody that certain businesses will be closed,” he said. “This is changing, so quite honestly we’ll have to wait closer to Easter and see what the government will say. It is changing, and a particular state could change and close shopping over Easter. Anything is possible at this stage.”
“We respect the government’s decisions on these things. They’re trying to do what is best for the country [with the onset of] the coronavirus, and we’re backing their decisions.”
The Retail Trading Act will be amended to deal with panic buying and stockpiling. This will allow supermarkets to stock their shelves and trade throughout the Easter long weekend and Anzac Day this year, ensuring food and other essential items are available at standard retail prices.
Restrictions on trading during the Easter period, which begins on Good Friday and lasts until Easter Monday, vary by state. The National Retail Association has provided the following information on trading restrictions:
Shops are closed on Good Friday, April 10, except for exempt shops. There are no restrictions on trading from April 11-13.
Shops are closed on Good Friday, April 10, and Easter Sunday, April 12, except for small shops and exempt shops, and shops in exempt areas.
There are no trading restrictions on Saturday, April 11, or Monday, April 13.
Australian Capital Territory
There are no trading restrictions any day.
Shops are closed in the Perth metro area on Good Friday, April 10, and trade is permitted on Saturday, April 11, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, April 12, trade is permitted between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Monday, April 13, trade is permitted between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Outside of the Perth metro area, shops are closed on April 10-13, except for Saturday, April 11, when trade is permitted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Shops in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District (excluding CBD tourist precinct) are closed on Good Friday, April 10, Easter Sunday, April 12, and April 13. Trading is permitted on Saturday, April 11, until 5 p.m.
Shops in the CBD tourist precinct are closed on Good Friday, April 10. Trading is permitted on Saturday, April 11, until 5 p.m., and between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, and Monday, April 13.
Shops in Proclaimed Shopping Districts, excluding shops selling hardware, building materials, furniture floor coverings and motor vehicle parts and accessories, are closed from April 10-13.
Trading is permitted for the exempted categories listed above on Saturday, April 11, until 5 p.m., and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, and Monday, April 13. These shops are closed on Good Friday, April 10.
Shops are closed on Good Friday, April 10, but are open from April 11-13.
Trading hours are not regulated in the Northern Territory, however, individual restrictions may apply to certain shopping centres based on centre management.
Trading hours for the sale of liquor products are regulated.
Independent retail shops are closed on Good Friday except if they are a predominantly food and/or grocery store, which can be unrestricted. There are no restrictions from April 11-13.
Non-exempt shops must not open on Good Friday. Trading may be permitted for non-exempt shops in certain areas of Queensland on the other public holidays during the Easter period.