News dalla rete ITA

16 Settembre 2020

Australia

WESFARMERS PUSHES FOR SEPTEMBER 28 OPENING

Retail giant Wesfarmers has offered to co-design COVID-19 protocols with the Victorian government to enable shops to start opening from September 28, a month earlier than the existing plan. Major Wesfarmers businesses such as Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart traded safely under previous stage three restrictions, but under the existing plan will not be able to reopen until October 26. Wesfarmers boss Rob Scott said “we have a range of practical suggestions which could be rapidly implemented and support a resumption of more business activity without increased risk, such as more segmentation of low-risk retailing, greater physical distancing, store marshals and extended trading hours." Victoria needs to drop below 50 cases a day for the state to move out of stage four restrictions on September 28. Mr Scott's call comes as Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra warned that the Andrews government's reopening plan was "looking more like a road crash than a road map" as it kept the shops closed during the busy Christmas season. "We're 14 weeks away from Christmas and every week counts," Mr Zahra said, noting that many retailers earned up to two-thirds of their annual profit from October to December. The ARA predicts that without any easing of measures under the road map, 50 per cent of Victoria's small retailers could permanently close. Melbourne's property market will also remain closed during the busy spring auction season and the real estate industry wants house inspections by appointment to be allowed from September 28, when construction and some manufacturing will also restart. Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan called for one-on-one house inspections to resume at the end of September, saying this would allow the industry to get back on its feet without compromising public health. "We're not aware of any cases spreading in real estate inspections across Victoria and agents were managing the infection risk before stage four," Ms Calnan said. The CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, Paul Guerra, said other businesses should be allowed to reopen alongside manufacturing and construction on September 28. If that is the trigger point for that sector, it should also be the trigger point for the rest of business as well – and that's what we'd be aiming for," he said. The push to fast-track retail and real estate reopening comes as the Andrews government launches a $290 million support package to allow the entertainment and hospitality industries to set up shop outdoors. Mr Zahra said while the grants were welcomed by retailers, they only represented "a tiny portion of the costs that retailers are incurring", as rent and payroll form the bulk of their expenses. University of Melbourne professor Tony Blakely said the October 26 threshold could be brought forward and at a higher threshold rate than the current five cases, assuming better contact tracing and smarter mask wearing. Professor Blakely was part of the team the Victorian government asked to model the risks of a resurgence. Professor Blakely said the model found that releasing from stage three to stage two when the 14-day average was just 10 cases a day reduced the probability of a third wave to 10 per cent, while at just five cases per day the probability fell to 3 per cent.AFR 14.09.2020 (ICE SYDNEY)


Fonte notizia: Australian Financial Review