12 Ways to Christmas #3: Your guide to reopening for Christmas

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The ARA is pleased to share our annual ’12 Ways to Christmas’ campaign, to help members plan for the busy seasonal shopping period. We’re working with our partners and a team of experts to bring you the latest retail tips – specific for a Christmas living within the COVID-19 ‘new normal’ environment. 

This week, we share our brand new Welcome Back Pack – a comprehensive guide for retail reopening in locked down states and territories. The pack includes useful information and campaign materials to ensure locked down retailers are prepared for business after lockdown.  

Here’s our top four tips for retailers who are reopening soon… 

1.  Health and safety protocols remain important 

Where your store is located will determine the health and safety protocols you must adhere to. Head to the welcome back campaign page for the specific guidelines for each state and territory – we’ve collated it all there for you.  

You’ll find a helpful overview of the guidelines for your particular industry, at Safe Work Australia’s website. SWA is an Australian government statutory body established to develop policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation. Check it out here.  

2.  Skill up your staff for the changed retail environment

When stores reopen in Victoria, NSW and the ACT – the experience for customers and staff will be different to what we have experienced before. While our teams have operated with rules regarding mask wearing, QR codes, check-in protocols, sanitization and social distancing requirements – we anticipate higher cases of customer aggression in retail stores due to new vaccination requirements and other reopening protocols.  

Upskilling your staff to be able to deal with these added pressures is a great way to reduce the risk to your business when you reopen.

3.  Check out the ARA Retail Institute’s online training courses to prepare your team for the reopening of retail…

Managing Customer Aggression: To prepare staff for a smooth transition back to work, providing training for managing customer aggression is vital for their health and safety during this time of elevated stress and change. We’ve established this course in recognition of the impact of aggression events – factors that increase the risk to work-related stress for staff. 

Infection Control Training: More and more workers require the knowledge and skills to decrease transmission of infection while undertaking their daily duties in a retail or hospitality environment. This skill will continue to be a requirement right across Australia as we transition to living with COVID-19. Our Infection Control Training Course is a Nationally Recognised Infection Control skill set training to all frontline staff working in retail, hospitality and the hair & beauty industry. 

4.  Be across the vaccination rules in your state 

COVID-19 vaccination of workers and customers is a hot topic in Australia. Particularly as both New South Wales and Victoria have released “roadmaps” which provide for the reopening of retail in the early stages to double vaccinated workers and customers when certain vaccination targets are met. 

Whilst there are some exemptions for medical conditions and pathways for access to essential retail, generally speaking, only those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enjoy the early post-lockdown “freedoms”. 

In a nutshell, retail can reopen in New South Wales on the first Monday after 70% of the eligible population is double vaccinated. Retailers must maintain the 1 person per 4 square metre rule. All employees and customers must be double vaccinated at the time of re-opening in order to shop/work in these environments (save for those with medical exemptions). Children may accompany parents to shop. Non-vaccinated customers may still have access to “critical retail”. Masks will still be required for the time being. 

In Victoria, the Roadmap differentiates between Regional and Metro Victoria. 

In terms of Metro Victoria, at 70% double vaccination, some hair and personal care and hospitality venues can open to fully vaccinated workers and customers. At 80%, all retail can open. Masks will still be required indoors. 

For regional Victoria, at 80% single vaccination, some beauty services can resume without masks. At 80% double vaccination, Regional will be the same as Metro – in terms of all retail reopening. 

5.  Mental health support is available 

In a recent survey about what is most important to our members, mental health impacts and support ranked in the top-five priorities, along with rebuilding in-store sales and growing online sales. 

Rolling lockdowns and the broader impacts of Covid-19 have heightened these concerns but, as with other trends, the past 18 months has merely accelerated the momentum towards more open and honest conversations about mental health in our community. 

In collaboration with Beyond Blue, the ARA has developed this online resource to connect our members with the information they need to: 

  • identify and manage immediate mental health concerns, 
  • address the underlying drivers of stress, anxiety and depression, and 
  • improve wellbeing of their teams and rebuild the resilience of their businesses. 

Access the mental health resource here 


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