Sydney lockdown

An extension to the lockdown announced yesterday will be a hammer blow to the retail and hospitality industry, according to peak industry body the National Retail Association (NRA).

Earlier today the New South Wales Government announced Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Blue Mountains and the Central Coast will be entering a 14 day lockdown from 6pm tonight. Regional NSW will also see restrictions, including mask wearing indoors and seated service at hospitality venues, come into play.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the lockdown will cost as much as $2 billion in lost retail sales.

“Our retailers are certainly dismayed that, on the back of yesterdays announcement, there is now an extension both to the duration and the areas affected,” Ms Lamb said.

“We understand that these measures need to be taken to combat the spread of COVID in our community, particularly the Delta variant. However, the NRA forecasts that this will cost retailers in the affected areas as much as a combined $2 billion in lost sales.

“CBDs right across the country have struggled throughout COVID and all have foot traffic well below pre-pandemic levels. Even if this lockdown is short and successful, it’s likely to further dent the number of consumers visiting the Sydney CBD once restrictions are lifted.”

Ms Lamb said that both the state and federal governments need to urgently consider assistance measures to affected retail businesses.

“The Premier indicated that financial assistance for business would be forthcoming both at the state and federal level, and this assistance will be vital to the ability of these retailers to bounce back,”

“This lockdown also comes in the final week of end-of-financial-year sales. Rather than seeing consumers stampede into town to cash in on bargain sales, Sydney CBD shopping precincts will resemble a ghost town.

“We urge all retailers throughout NSW to stay safe, maintain COVID safe protocols, and ensure that these measures are in place for as brief a period as possible.”