The boss of Kmart has hit out at Premier Daniel Andrew, saying retailers were ambushed by the ‘massive extension’ of Victoria’s lockdown.
Premier Andrews announced on Sunday that the state’s strict shutdown would be extended by two weeks, with retailers barred from reopening until October 26 at the earliest.
Ian Bailey, Managing Director of Kmart Group, said the retail sector had not been consulted on the plans and the ‘extended forced closures’ had left staff ‘concerned and frustrated’.
‘The Victorian Government’s roadmap for re-opening the state economy took the retail sector and Kmart Group by complete surprise,’ he wrote in a statement.
Ian Bailey, Managing Director of Kmart Group, said the Andrews’ government did not consult the retail sector before imposing an ‘extended forced closure’ of its stores
Premier Andrews on Sunday announced that non-essential businesses would not be permitted to open until October 26 at the earliest
‘We were not provided with any forewarning in relation to the massive extension to the continued closure of retail trading that was announced.
‘Best case scenarios will see our stores closed in metro Melbourne for a minimum of 12 weeks. This is unprecedented for the Kmart Group – and retail trading – in Melbourne. ‘
He promised that the discount chain would pay its staff who ‘through no fault of their own’ are unable to work.
Mr Andrews’ ‘roadmap to reopening’ will see some restrictions ease from September 13, but only essential businesses, such as supermarkets, chemists, petrol stations and bottle shops are permitted to operate until October 26.
The strict outline dashed hopes that retailers with a COVID-19 plan would be allowed to open sooner.
The politician aims to only have five or less new COVID-19 cases a day before reopening a state, a goal that has been slammed by fellow MPs, including the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as being unrealistic.
‘The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
‘Under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now.’
Kmart has pledged to continue paying staff who ‘through no fault of their own’ are unable to work
Mr Andrews’ ‘roapmap to reopening’ has been slammed by fellow politicians as being too strict. A man walks past a closed shop on Swanston Street on September 9, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia
Kmart Group, which also owns Target and Catch, has been paying all of its permanent staff their normal wages since Melbourne entered lockdown on August 2.
Casual staff who regularly work 12 hours a week are being paid the equivalent of their regular hours.
Critics of Premier Andrews have taken to calling him ‘Dictator Dan’ because of his hardline coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Bailey urged the Victorian government to take a ‘holistic approach’.
‘We will continue to encourage the Government to support all businesses and individuals that have sacrificed so much during this pandemic.’
Kmart home deliveries and click and collect services will continue while stores remain closed.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records