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Ease COVID rules to give retailers a Christmas bonus

The Hunter Business Chamber and the state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW, have urged the NSW Government to relax restrictions on retailers to give them a chance to capitalise on Christmas spending.

Under the current COVID regulations, retailers must adhere to the one person per four square metre rule, unless they are a supermarket or shop that primarily sells food. However that rule has been eased to one person per two square metres for hospitality businesses.

“With Christmas shopping in full swing and no community transmissions in NSW for some time, we need to give retailers a break in the lead up to Christmas,” Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.

“A café can have one person per two square metres, but if you are a clothing retailer or bookshop, your ability to trade is significantly more limited.

“It‘s been difficult year for the retail sector and easing this restriction is an opportunity to provide them with some relief.”

Mr Hawes said the lack of community transmission on NSW in recent weeks showed that retailers could operate safely if they continue to observe COVID protocols.

“Shopping centres are becoming busier with just three weeks left before Christmas, so any help the NSW Government can give retailers should be done as a matter of urgency,” Mr Hawes said.

“This is particularly important in regional NSW, where there is significant opportunity to boost local economies by encouraging the holidaymakers that are flooding in to buy local.

“Shopfront retailers already have a tough job competing with online giants like Amazon and ebay that don’t have restrictions on customers.

“The NSW Government has done an outstanding job in protecting the community from COVID-19, but it’s time to level the playing field and make the rules the same for all businesses.”

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