QLD Government criticized for its inconsistent COVID advice

The National Retail Association (NRA) has slammed the contradictory directions from the Queensland Government, after consumers were urged not to shop online.

Dominique Lamb, CEO, NRA, said that the advice available to retailers differs across the QLD Health website, the official Health Directive, and according to the comments of the Chief Health Officer.

Lamb said retailers could not get a straight answer from the QLD Government about their legal obligations, while consumers could not get consistent advice on what they could and couldn’t do.

“On Monday and Tuesday, shoppers were being urged to use online shopping to reduce the number of shoppers in stores,” Lamb said.

“Today, the official advice is to avoid online shopping to reduce the number of delivery workers in the community.”

She said while the Government was urging businesses to close, its failure to update the Health Directive meant that business owners were not able to stand down staff or negotiate with landlords for rent relief.

“The Queensland Government is taking no responsibility for the damage they are inflicting on small businesses,” Lamb said.

“By doing the proper paperwork, they would give business owners the opportunity lawfully reduce their expenses, which would make it easier for them to close their doors.

“But instead, the Government gives vague, weak, and contradictory advice, which leaves business owners guessing about their rights and responsibilities.

“And now we hear police are interrogating customers and business owners in shopping centres, demanding to know why they are there.

“If people are not allowed in shopping centres, then order them closed and pay appropriate compensation to the business owners who must still pay rent and staff costs.

“Sending out the police to enforce vague and constantly changing directives is unreasonable, heavy handed and grossly unfair to business owners who have borne the brunt of this debacle.

“Retail employers have done everything in their power to support the fight against COVID –masks, sanitisation, social distancing, re-arranging shops to allow for correct entry and exits, and enforcing QR code check-ins.

“They have absolutely had enough. It’s time the Government provided some clear, consistent advice on what they expect.

“And perhaps they could give just a moment’s consideration to the damage their constant backflipping and contradictions are doing to the morale and viability of QLD businesses.”

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