The region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra, says retailers need to be given a chance to capitalise on Christmas spending with a relaxation of the current restrictions on their premises.
Under the current rules, retailers must adhere to the one person per four square metre rule, unless they are a supermarket or shop that mostly sells food.
“With Christmas shopping in full swing and no community transmissions in NSW for some time, we need to give retailers a break in the lead up to Christmas,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of Business Illawarra.
“It seems hard to understand that a café can have one person per two square metres, but if you are a clothing retailer or bookshop, your ability to trade is significantly more limited.”
“It goes without saying what a difficult year it has been for the retail sector, and here is an opportunity to provide them with some relief, so long as they operate in a COVID-Safe way.”
“Shopping centres are beginning to become packed again with just three weekends left before Christmas, so any help the NSW Government can give retailers must be done as a matter of urgency.”
“This is particularly important in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands where holiday makers are heading in large numbers but, thanks to these restrictions, will be limited in their capacity to spend money.”
“It’s also the case that these retailers are competing with online giants like Amazon and eBay who have no shop fronts and therefore no restrictions on customers.”
“The NSW Government has done an outstanding job in protecting the community from COVID-19, but it’s time to level the playing field and make the rules the same for all businesses, irrespective of the particular industry,” Mr Zarth said.