Retailers in NSW Want Restrictions Further Eased to Encourage More Shopping

Retailers in NSW Want Restrictions Further Eased to Encourage More Shopping
People walk past the Myer Christmas window display as they do their Christmas shopping in Melbourne, Australia, on Dec. 20, 2012. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Retailers in NSW are calling for a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions to encourage people to get into the spirit of Christmas shopping.

Business NSW says retailers need to be given a chance to capitalise on Christmas spending with a relaxation of restrictions on their premises.

Retailers must now adhere to the one person per four square metre rule, unless they are a supermarket or shop that mostly sells food.

NSW has notched up 24 consecutive days without a single locally transmitted coronavirus case and many other restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus have already been eased.

“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,” Business NSW Chief Executive Nola Watson said on December 2.

While cafes can have one person per two square metres, clothing retailers and bookshops are more limited, Watson says.

“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,” she said.

Retailers were competing with online giants like Amazon and Ebay who have no shop fronts and therefore no restrictions on customers, and now was the time to level the playing field, Watson said.