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Sydney enters a two-week lockdown

Sydney businesses are reeling after Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced stay-at-home orders that will be in place until midnight Friday 9 July. The restrictions apply to Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, Central Coast and Wollongong. The lockdown is in response to the city’s more widespread cases of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19.

Under the new measures, supermarkets and grocery can remain open, but other food businesses can only provide takeaway. Nightclubs, non-essential retail, and gyms must close. 

The timing of the lockdown is particularly challenging as it comes during the last week of end-of-financial-year sales.  Additionally, business owners can no longer rely on the JobKeeper program that helped them survive previous restrictions.

What business can expect

The lockdown supersedes previous stay-at-home orders, which applied to people living or working in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, and City of Sydney councils.  The National Retail Association estimated that the cost of lost sales for retailers in those four councils would be as much as $750 million.

With the cost of wider restrictions certain to far exceed this estimate, both state and federal government are considering financial aid for workers and businesses.

“In the next few days, we’ll be announcing support to businesses and also the Federal Government support to households kicks in at a certain time, and obviously, that will kick in,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The lessons from other states is that business support measures need to be outlined and rolled out as soon as possible,” said Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has declared Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong COVID-19 hotspots, which will extend federal support payments of up to $500 million to these areas.

Under the new restrictions, people can only leave home for the following four reasons:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services
  • Medical care or compassionate needs (including to get a COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer
  • Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home

The Premier said her hands had been tied by the escalating outbreak of the Delta variant. “I said that this the scariest time since the pandemic started and that’s proven to be the case,” Ms Berejiklian added.

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Clare Loewenthal

Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.

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