Peak retail group the National Retail Association (NRA) has urged the ACT Government to clarify what constitutes ‘essential businesses’ following the nation’s capital being plunged into a snap seven-day lockdown.
Under the announcement made today, only a limited number of retail businesses that have been deemed ‘essential’ are able to offer click and collect services to the ACT public.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that retailers needed greater certainty over lockdown restrictions in the ACT.
“Under the current interpretation on the ACT Government website, only those deemed ‘essential retailers’ can offer click and collect services. This cuts off that service for a majority of retailers and denies the public a safe alternative to shopping” Ms Lamb said.
“If the implication of this ruling is unintentional it needs to be clarified, if it is the intent then the ACT Government needs to rethink its decision.
“Clarity on this direction is crucial as it could determine whether retailers get access to things such as rent relief via their landlords.
“The ability to trade in a non- contact environment, such as a click and collect arrangement, is essential for the ongoing viability of the retail industry. A direction for general retail to not offer click and collect and for consumers to not shop online would also force impacted distribution centres to close.”
Ms Lamb added that businesses require certainty, particularly during challenging events such as lockdowns.
“During the good times businesses need certainty to thrive, during times of extreme challenges it’s needed simply to survive,” Ms Lamb said.
“The NRA strongly urges the ACT Health Directive to include a more expansive list of essential retailers. It is crucial to keeping people in jobs and ensuring the public maintains access to everyday items in a safe manner.”