Shopping in-store is one of the activities Australians feel safe doing during the pandemic, research from RepTrak indicates.

The survey of 10,000 Aussies over the age of 18 showed 65% of people feel safe shopping in a supermarket, 64% feel safe shopping on a street, while more than half (56%) feel safe with shopping in a shopping centre.

Conducted from October to December 2020, the research measured shopper sentiment on a sliding scale from extremely safe to extremely unsafe.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said retailers have worked hard to ensure that they meet COVID-safe requirements.

"Australian retailers have worked incredibly hard and spared no expense to ensure staff and customer comfort and safety, often going above and beyond the health requirements.

"Businesses have ramped up sanitation, many large stores have introduced separate entry and exit points, all are focused on managing high traffic and high touch areas and some are taking temperature checks.

"Staff have gone through extensive customer and safety training which reduces COVID risks and helps keep the experience comfortable for everyone.

"All of this has contributed to a safe shopping experience for customers and it’s reflected in these figures," he said.

Activities that were flagged as unsafe during the pandemic included catching public transport (46%), exercising indoors at a gym, pool or training facility (40%), attending a religious service (36%) and eating at an indoor food court (35%).

Ranking highest on the list of safe activities was visiting a GP/local medical service including pharmacies, which 69% of respondents said was extremely safe.

Zahra added that the rollout of vaccines this year will help to build on consumer confidence and suggests that those who work in retail should be placed in the high-priority category for vaccination.

"Most of our members think retail workers should be prioritised for the vaccine, given their essential services status.

"They’ve been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, ensuring people can access essential items, and were often peoples only interactions outside of home during the lockdowns.

"It’s important there is a streamlined start to the vaccine rollout rather than a false start which would have a detrimental effect on business and consumer confidence," he said.

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