It’s been a tumultuous week for retailers, to say the very least. After months of lockdowns, a mouse plague, and an earthquake, there’s light on the horizon as Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory release their roadmaps out of lockdown.

While we are pushing as hard as we can to have the retail industry open for business before Christmas, there are speed bumps in our way. A lack of national consistency on settings surrounding mandatory vaccinations for retailers, vaccine passports, border closures and more has led to confusion for retail and hospitality businesses of all sizes. We have asked for a faster opening for fully vaccinated businesses in an effort to help as many of you as possible get your doors open as soon as possible.

We have been engaging with the State Governments very frequently to express your views on how the lockdown should be lifted. We have spoken at length about how many challenges there are for Victorian non-essential retailers being told they can only operate outside – and how larger format hairdressers cannot begin to consider reopening with only five customers in their chairs.

We have also continued to warn Governments that the onus cannot be on the retailer to check vaccine passports. We anticipate that customer abuse will skyrocket as more freedoms are made available to double dose vaccinated customers. We are currently advocating for subsidised training to be made available to retailers to learn how to tackle customer abuse – you can add your voice to ours here.

We know that there’s more that you need, and that navigating these restrictions is confusing. I invite all members to attend a special Town Hall meeting this Friday at 2pm AEST, where I will be discussing what advocacy we are engaging in and getting your feedback on how we can get you back to doing what you do best, selling, before Christmas. Microphone and cameras are recommended to ensure you can take part in the conversation. Register your attendance here.

All the best for the week ahead.

Dominique Lamb

Chief Executive Officer