Australia’s largest retail industry group, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has welcomed the decision by the Western Australian Government to end the use of masks and close contact isolation requirements in most settings, aligning WA with recent changes made by NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
“These changes move us another step closer to national consistency and allow us to get on with the business of living with Covid. Importantly, they will also help address the crippling staff shortages we’ve seen across the country, including in WA. These changes are good for retailers, good for consumers and good for the broader economy,” said ARA CEO Paul Zahra.
Mr Zahra said the isolation requirements have caused unfortunate restrictions on trading hours and some businesses to close locations, simply because they haven’t had the staff to stay open as Covid isolations took hold.
“This will allow healthy people who are testing negative to choose to get back to work, instead of isolating for seven days.
“This national alignment is a massive relief for businesses who haven’t been able to trade at their full potential. It’s clear that even with such high vaccination rates, we’re going to continue to see cases go through peaks and troughs, but we can’t evade this virus forever. This is a crucial step towards living with Covid, as many other jurisdictions around the world have for many months.”
Mr Zahra said the removal of the mask mandate in most settings was also a move the ARA had been advocating for and would also help encourage more people to return to work, with masks an impediment for workers in many settings.