Retail NZ calls on Government to move Auckland to step 2

Retailers are pleading with the Government to move to step two of the Auckland roadmap next week, and allow shops to open in Auckland and Waikato.

Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford said business owners are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their mental wellbeing and their finances, while customers cannot easily access the goods they need.

He is confident shops can open safely, with customers wearing masks, scanning in and distancing.

Harford believes there is no compelling reason for retail not to open, after 11 weeks in lockdown.

“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,” Harford said in a statement.

“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.”

There was concern the lockdown could extend to Christmas, which would be “catastrophic” for some businesses, Harford said.

Retail NZ had written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking her to announce a move to step 2 of the roadmap this week, and are hopeful she will announce the reopening of retail at her post-Cabinet media conference tomorrow.

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