The South Australian Government yesterday announced a six-day “circuit breaker” lockdown period to help the state to bring a COVID-19 cluster under control.

From midnight all pubs, cafes, coffee shops and takeaway food outlets were among a wide range of facilities that will be closed for the next six-days. Petrol stations and supermarkets, including convenience stores will remain open.

In addition people must stay home with no exercise outside the home and only one person per household, per day is allowed to leave in order to purchase groceries.

And while these measures are some of the harshest that we’ve seen during the pandemic in Australia – and came with very little warning – South Australian suppliers and manufacturers have praised the Government for its swift response, saying that the health and safety of South Australians must come first.

Chris Illman, Group Sales and Marketing Manager at Bickford’s Group, told C&I this morning that from an industry perspective the next six days would be tough as takeaway shops, cafes and restaurants are going to suffer, but from an overall health perspective he agrees with the Government’s decision.

“Let’s go hard, let’s go early and nip it in the bud and then stop a significant issue blowing out,” he said. “But it’s not an easy one. It’s a tough decision.”

When it comes to business, it’s more or less business as usual but with strict COVID-safe strategies being put in place.

At Bickford’s, non-essential staff are working from home but BDMs are still out on the road servicing essential stores.

“We haven’t got clarity on whether our BDMs will need a permit to visit stores, but taking a line of sight from Victoria what we’ve done is that we’ve put in the hands of all of our essential workers a very basic email that stipulates who they work for and what we do as a business. Then when we get further clarity from the Government around what sort of communication to carry to confirm you’re an essential worker then we will abide by those particular regulations.

“There are a lot of unknowns so we’re working within the broad parameters and then will seek forgiveness if we need to,” says Illman.

At Robern Menz, Marketing Manager, Polly Love, told C&I that a strategy has been implemented, which has seen most staff provided the means to work from home.

“It has been 24 hours since the lockdown was announced, but in that time our COVID Crisis Management Team has met and put a strategy in place for the business. The team was established during the initial outbreak in March and has been meeting regularly since then,” she said.

“Our sales, finance and administration people have been provided with facilities to work from home, while the manufacturing and logistics teams have remained in place on-site as they are essential to ongoing supply to customers.

“For our retail partners, it is business as usual which means there is no change in the manufacturing and dispatch of our products which will continue as per normal.

“As far as our merchandising team in-stores go, we will take this on a day by day and our decisions will be formed aligned with Government directives. At the end of the day, the safety and well being of our people is paramount and as a business we take this responsibility very seriously.”

Love also confirmed that three of the company’s own retail stores located at Glynde, Hahndorf and McLaren Vale were temporarily closed yesterday as a result of the lockdown restrictions announced.

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