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Sydney Lockdown To Cost Retail Billions

The two-week lockdown in Greater Sydney will be a $2 billion hammer blow to local retail, the Australian Retailers Association has warned.

The city, as well as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong areas were placed under a stay-at-home order on Saturday due to surging COVID-19 cases from the Bondi cluster.

Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, said that while the lockdown is a necessary decision and the NSW Government has done “an admirable job” keeping the economy open during the pandemic, this new lockdown will cost retailers around $2 billion.

“We can’t ignore the fact that today’s announcement is a devastating blow for retailers, in particular small businesses who were already struggling due to the ongoing COVID impacts.

“While some businesses can still open, with the consumer restrictions in place, there simply won’t be the usual number of people out shopping,” he said.

Zahra welcomed indications from the NSW Government that measures would be introduced by both state and Commonwealth to support affected businesses, but urged more progress on the vaccine rollout to prevent future lockdowns.

“We look forward to seeing those support measures available as soon as possible. Without a safety net like JobKeeper and with consumer confidence severely impacted, many small businesses will be pushed to breaking point,” he said.

As Sydney has been declared a COVID hotspot, federal government support of up to $500 will be available to workers who have lost income for eight consecutive days, while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged support for businesses.

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