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At 11.59pm tonight, metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to stage three lockdown restrictions.

The shutdown comes as Victoria experiences steadily rising case numbers of COVID-19 and as New South Wales closes its border to the southern State, which came into effect at 12.01am this morning (08 July).

During the first stage three lockdown period, many retailers took pre-emptive action and closed their stores while foot traffic was down and the 'Stay At Home' order was in place, even though the government gave them no official direction to do so.

However, during the first wave of restrictions, many toy retailers experienced significant increases in toy sales as parents searched for ways to keep house-bound kids entertained and educated.

Whether or not this second lockdown will provide the same fruitful outcome is yet to be seen. 

Speaking on the move, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that there will only be four reasons for Victorians living in these areas to leave their home.

"2020 has not been the year any of us wanted.

"I know a lot of people aren’t scared because this feels like something happening to other people in other parts of the world. But you should be scared of this. I’m scared of this. We all should be.

"It’s clear we are on the cusp of our second wave – and we cannot let this virus cut through our communities.

"It’s why based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, stage three 'Stay at Home' restrictions will be reinstated across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11:59pm on Wednesday 8 July.

"For six weeks, and if you live in these areas, there’ll be only four reasons to leave your home:

"Shopping for food and essential items. Care and caregiving. Daily exercise. Work and study – if you can’t do it from home.

"Otherwise: Stay home. Stay home. Stay home. In case it needs repeating, stay home. We are fighting a global and deadly pandemic.

"Businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will also return to stage three restrictions," he added.

"Restaurants and cafes will return to takeaway and delivery services only. Beauty and personal services will need to close. Entertainment and cultural venues will need to close. Community sport will need to stop," he said.

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb said that any retailers impacted by the second lockdown can approach the organisation for assistance.

"This jump in cases is clear evidence this pandemic is far from over, and we need to exercise caution while out and about.

"Wash and sanitise your hands, maintain 1.5m distance between others, and cover your coughs and sneezes.

"The impact of a second lockdown would be devastating, and with retailers already struggling we must do everything we can to stop the spread.

"If you are a retailer affected by this latest wave in Victoria, please reach out to us if you require any assistance in terms of financial support, leasing and tenancy queries, or more," she said.

Lamb added that the NRA is in support of extending the rent relief measures past September to support retailers, which is reportedly being explored by the Morrison Government.

"This extension would provide vital support to the industry and the NRA is very much in support of this move.

"We know that there is a significant amount of concern around the end of JobKeeper in September, and speculation that the economy is headed towards a cliff.

"As such, we are pleased to see last week the ACCC announcement proposing to grant authorisation for NRA members to engage in information sharing and, in the case of tenants, collective bargaining with respect to their leases," she said.

Lamb said that it is important for retailers to remember to be vigilant during these times.

"In this volatile environment, we can’t simply look at one month and take that as a barometer as to how retail is travelling.

"The past three months have seen retail trade go up and down like a yo-yo, so we need to be careful about thinking we’ve almost reached a recovery," she said.

Will you close your store? Do you think toy sales will increase again? Leave a comment below.

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