Retail struggle in January 2020

Headlines right around the world are dominated at present by the Coronavirus health scare and the fallout taking place. We’re starting to see elected representatives at all levels of government take action to both protect the public and curb the economic consequences.


Last week the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, warned that it would likely be named a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation and announced an emergency plan.


Meanwhile, at the time of writing, the Queensland State Government has just announced a six-month payroll tax relief initiative. It is a clear acknowledgement of the financial impact the issue is having and the ripple effect it is having across the state economy following the hit to the tourism sector.


Although the initiative is not as far as we advocated in our Blueprint for a Retail Recovery report that we issued last month, it is still good news. We certainly hope that other state governments will look to emulate the measure.


In the meantime, it is important to ensure we strike the right balance between exercising caution and irrational panic. Those of you operating in food and drink businesses will undoubtedly already have high standards when it comes to hygiene, but the rest of you should reiterate the importance of this to all your staff. Basic sanitary acts such as regularly washing hands and even providing hand gel in your store are measures to be implemented.


If a staff member appears to be suffering from flu-like symptoms such as coughing, regular sneezing or a sore throat best to take the safe approach and get them to stay home and see a doctor.


If you’re unsure of your legal responsibilities to staff, as always please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at the NRA.


We will also keep you updated on any further announcements by state or federal governments that are relevant to the retail sector. Only time will reveal the extent and the impact Coronavirus will have, but we all certainly need to be alert to the risks it poses from both a health and business perspective.


Have a great week!