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Let’s Get Stores Open – Retail NZ Plea To Goverment

Retail NZ is asking the Government to move to Step 2 of the Auckland Roadmap this week, and to get stores in Auckland and the Waikato open, subject to safety measures.

“While the Government ultimately planning to introduce a new Traffic Light system called the Covid Protection Framework, we are still stuck in the old Alert Level system, and at Step 1 of the so-called Auckland Roadmap. After nearly 11 weeks of lockdown, the time has come to move to Step 2 of the Roadmap this week, and get shops and services open,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive, said today. “Retail can operate safely, with customers wearing masks, scanning in, distance being maintained in-store, and great hygiene practices. There is no compelling reason for retail not to open, as the Government has previously announced it would be able to do.

“There is enormous mental and financial harm being caused by the current lockdown. Business owners are finding it increasingly difficult to manage both their mental wellbeing and their finances, while customers can’t access the goods they need easily. Online shopping is not enough to keep businesses afloat, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas, and is leading to massive congestion in courier networks. At the same time, some retail service businesses, such as beauty therapists are unable to trade online at all, and are at serious risk.

“The best thing the Government can do to support the retail community is to get the doors open. Retailers stand ready to do their bit to keep people safe, and are increasingly frustrated that the Government is not willing to announce a timeline, either for the Auckland Roadmap, or the new Traffic Light System. There is real concern that the ongoing lockdown could extend up to Christmas or even into the New Year, which would be simply catastrophic for the survival of businesses and the retention of jobs.

“Retail NZ has written to the Prime Minister asking her to announce a move to Step 2 of the Roadmap this week. We have yet to receive a substantive response, but are hopeful that she will announce the re-opening of retail at her post-Cabinet press conference tomorrow.”

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