11 October 2021

The region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra, has today welcomed the lifting of restrictions as Back to Business Day, calling on the community to be kind to frontline staff and follow the COVID rules.

After 106 days in lockdown, the reopening of businesses across the Illawarra under the NSW Government’s roadmap is a cause for major celebration for customers, business owners and staff alike.  However the reopening will come with its challenges, expected to stem from the complexity of COVID rules still in place, as well as skills and workforce shortages across key sectors.

Business Illawarra Executive Director Adam Zarth said that members of the community should be patient when dealing with frontline staff, and to acquaint themselves with the COVID rules; particularly those requiring them to provide proof of vaccination when entering a business.

“We’re excited that ‘Back to Business Day’ is finally here, and that businesses can reopen their doors to fully vaccinated customers. Our role as members of the community is to be kind, be patient and follow the COVID rules,” said Mr Zarth.

“These include preparing to provide proof of vaccination when entering a business and checking in, observing social distancing and density limits, wearing masks.”

“For those that are yet to become fully vaccinated we ask that you be patient until restrictions are eased further in coming weeks and that the necessary steps are taken to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“Right now businesses are navigating the complex and changing COVID safe rules, as well as workforce shortages that are acute in key sectors like hospitality and retail.”

“While skills and workforce shortages have been an underlying issue facing businesses across the Illawarra for some time, they have been drastically worsened by the closure of international borders, causing a lack of foreign migration, international students and backpackers.”

“On top of that, the length of the most recent lockdown has unfortunately seen many workers departing businesses and sometimes entire sectors, and businesses have been working hard to re-hire and retrain new staff.”

“Please be patient while dealing with businesses that may be understaffed, be training new staff or have staff that are still developing new skills,” Mr Zarth said.