Australian city Melbourne has closed all non-essential retail stores for six weeks on 7th August, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread on the back of a second spike of the virus in the Victorian capital.
Under stage four lockdown restrictions, hundreds of Melbourne retailers temporarily closed on 5th August night, resulting in 250,000 people being out of work during the period.
Essential services, such as food and healthcare, remain open and other retailers allowed to stay open include supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, petrol stations, banks, news agencies, post offices and anyone on the Covid-19 frontline.
Other businesses have reduced the amount of staff and their opening hours.
Businesses in a third category must close altogether for at least six weeks. These include fashion, accessory and beauty retailers, hair and beauty salons, cafes and restaurants, pubs, food courts, furniture stores, car washes, travel agencies and other professional services firms.
Manufacturers in textiles, leather, clothing, knitwear and domestic appliances have had their on-site work shut down. Victoria’s neighbouring states New South Wales and Queensland have since closed the borders to Victorian’s to quash the spread of Covid-19 across Australia. Retailers remain in full operational.
SEE ALSO : Uniqlo to close nine stores in Korea
The news comes as Australia recorded lacklustre retail sales growth for June and the last quarter. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia retail sales rose 2.7% month-on-month in June. However, retail volumes dropped 3.4% for the June quarter, resulting in the largest seasonally adjusted quarterly decline since the introduction of the GST in 2000.