Retailers speak out on lockdown in Western Australia
Sunday 31 January 2021
Australia’s peak body for retail, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), says it is deeply concerned by the Western Australian Government’s failure to consult affected businesses on their recent round of Covid-19 restrictions.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said today’s lockdown, without notice, coupled with a mandatory imposition of QR codes on all retail business without consultation, demonstrates a lack of respect for the impact of those decisions on the Western Australian business community.
“The decisions over the past week are strongly out of step with successful practice in the rest of the country,” Mr Zahra said.
“We have been living with Covid for nearly a year now with ample time to get reasonable business communication in place. With a hot spot approach showing powerful results around the country, it makes little sense to continue shutting down local economies whenever new cases emerge, let alone just one case.
“While we understand the need to keep the community safe, we cannot be treating businesses like a light switch and turn things off when a case pops up. It’s not responsible or safe for business to find out what’s imposed via the media with no opportunity for preparation or input - particularly when there is a panic reaction from the public.
“We have to learn to live with Covid and manage things in a responsible way without devastating business and livelihoods.
“There has been no consistency from state and territory governments when it comes to Covid restrictions.
“The uncertainty and confusion around ‘trigger points’ has been a confidence killer and one of the key lessons out of this pandemic is to have a nationally consistent approach, with clear criteria, so business can at least operate with some sort of certainty,” Mr Zahra said.