Following continued calls by the Canberra Liberals and the business community, the ACT Labor-Greens Government has finally amended restrictions for Canberra businesses.
The changes, due to come into effect this Friday will allow non-essential retail to return under a one person per four square metre rule, following the absurd situation that saw Canberrans freely crossing the border into NSW to do their shopping.
Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee said this is a common sense decision that should have been implemented as soon as the cross-border travel arrangements were amended on Saturday morning.
“This is welcome news for Canberra businesses that sees sensible changes in the way they are able to trade, however, these changes should have come into effect when the cross-border travel arrangements were amended last week,” Ms Lee said.
“It was clear as soon as the ACT government made the decision to allow Canberrans to freely travel into NSW, businesses in the ACT would be at a serious disadvantage forced to operate under click-and-collect and by appointment only.
“The Chief Minister has had access to the modelling indicating we would reach 80% vaccination around this time for some months now; and yet he clearly is making up policy on the run.
“There is no reason that our retail businesses could not have opened up safely when restaurants, bars, gyms and personal care services reopened for customers last week.
“Once again we see this government making decisions without any forward planning or thought for Canberra businesses doing it tough.
“Small business owners have spoken about the heart wrenching situations where regular customers have told them they are off to Bowral or Queanbeyan or Goulburn to go shopping because they will have the freedom to browse.
“I hope these new amendments will give our businesses some renewed hope for their recovery out of this lockdown,” Ms Lee concluded.Capacity limits across the hospitality industry and major events will also be relaxed from October 29.