Statement from Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra on Victorian lockdown

This is a devastating blow for Victorian retailers. They’ve been through so much in the past year and have done their best to return to an even footing in recent months. Unfortunately, some of the horrors of 2020 continue.

We certainly hope the Victorian health authorities get on top of this quickly and that this lockdown doesn’t drag out for longer than it needs to.

Sadly, there won’t be much love in the air for Victorian businesses this Valentine’s Day. Last minute shopping will be curtailed and romantic dinner date plans have been dashed. That’s a massive blow for restaurants who would have been fully booked for one of their busiest nights of the year.

As we said in response to WA and other snap lockdowns - we have to learn to live with Covid and manage things in a responsible way without devastating business and livelihoods.

It’s time to have consistency from state and territory governments when it comes to Covid restrictions. At the moment, businesses are at the mercy of the different approaches from the various Premiers with very little planning time around what the latest restrictions mean.

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.

The vaccines can’t come soon enough, but even when they’re rolled out, we’ll still be living with Covid for some time, so the existing challenges will remain for retail.

ENDS…for more details: Dominic Cuschieri 0418 224 072 (e) About us: founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association is Australia’s largest retail association, representing a $340bn sector employing more than 1.2m people. As Australia’s premier retail body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members. To learn more, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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