The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) today welcomed an additional easing of restrictions for Victorian retailers, which will allow businesses to open their doors to everyone in the final weeks of Christmas trading.
Proof of vaccinations will be removed at ‘non-essential’ retailers but remain in place for hair and beauty businesses, aligning the two major states in their customer vaccination protocols – a step the ARA has strongly advocated for.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the Victorian government has struck a balance in allowing businesses to maximise their trade, while maintaining the health and safety of the community.
“Victoria is one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world and it’s a credit to the government and all in the community who’s gone out to get the jabs that an additional easing of restrictions can now occur,” Mr Zahra said.
“The removal of vaccine checks in retail will allow businesses to maximise their trade during the holiday sales period which is when most discretionary retailers make up to two thirds of their profits. With the vast bulk of the population now fully vaccinated, it makes sense to remove this impediment on businesses and customers, allowing people to move freely in and out of stores.
“Staff and customers have become accustomed to wearing masks in indoor retail settings; we respect this requirement as an ongoing safety measure at this time. As they have throughout the pandemic, retailers will follow the public health advice.
“The most important thing is ensuring retailers can safely trade at their full potential over the holiday sales period. We also saw elevated levels of customer aggression focused around the vaccine checks. Retailers will welcome the easing of tensions in this area and we look forward to these unsavoury incidents now being a thing of the past.
“There’s a real buzz in the air at our major shopping destinations with people back out and about in droves. Consumer confidence is in positive territory, we had a record-breaking Black Friday, so all the signs are pointing to a buoyant festive trading period.
“Victorians are set to spend $15.4 billion in the pre-Christmas sales period – up 11.5% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The pent-up demand for shopping will continue through to the new year as well, with Victorians set to spend $5.6 billion in the three weeks from Boxing Day – up 13.8% pre-pandemic.
“We acknowledge the Victorian Government in their efforts to keep businesses open and trading unimpeded while maintaining the health and safety of the community,” Mr Zahra said.
For more details:
Dominic Cuschieri 0418 224 072
About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s oldest, largest and most diverse retail body, representing a $360bn sector which employs 1.3 million Australians. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 100,000 retail shop fronts, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies independent, national and international retail members. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive benefits and more, visit www.retail.org.au