Bunnings Makes Shock Announcement To Close All Its Stores Across Greater Sydney and Not Just in COV-Hotspot LGAs As Sydney Lockdown Ramps Up
By ELIZA MCPHEE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
Bunnings has announced it will close all of its stores across Greater Sydney to customers, including warehouses outside of hotspots.
The decision followed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement on Friday morning that new restrictions would be enforced after 642 new cases were recorded in the state.
A string of retailers such as garden centres, hardware stores and office and pet supply chains will all be forced to shut as of Monday and offer click and collect services only in 12 LGAs of concern in Sydney’s west and south-west.
But the popular hardware retailer has gone further, closing all its stores in Greater Sydney to reduce movement of people between LGAs.
‘This is in support of the government and for the safety and security of team members, customers and the community,’ said Mike Schneider, Bunnings manager director.
‘We know from experience that applying a consistent approach across a metropolitan area is easier for our team to manage and helps reduce travel by residents between LGAs.’
Tradesmen will be allowed to enter the stores under the new restrictions but other customers will need to either order online or use the contactless drive and collect system.
Bunnings stores around regional NSW will remain open to customers.
The popular hardware store had earlier popped up on several exposure sites listed for the state prompting reporters to ask Ms Berejiklian why she hadn’t closed the retailer during lockdown.
Sky News’ Andrew Clennell at the start of the month asked the premier why a range of stores including the Reject Shop and Bunnings were kept open when essential retail was meant to be closed.
Ms Berejiklian claimed NSW’s lockdown rules were ‘some of the harshest’ the nation had seen, but admitted ‘non-critical retail’ such as the Reject Shop should be closed.
‘Why is Bunnings open?’ Clennell asked.
The premier turned her gaze away from the reporter and said ‘next question’, ignoring his attempts at a follow-up.
Ms Berejiklian’s dodge of the question sparked uproar on social media given the store has often appeared on exposure site lists.
Business journalist and commentator Janine Perrett tweeted: ‘Poor form. Berejiklian is asked a very valid question as to why so many Bunnings are turning up on exposure sites and still open to public and she simply refuses to answer.’
Under Victoria’s Stage Four lockdown restrictions, Bunnings was closed except to tradespeople seeking items for essential or emergency repair work.
One Twitter user suggested Victoria’s approach to Bunnings was a model for NSW. ‘It’s not rocket science.
‘People can do click and collect so it’s not a ‘lockdown’ more an alternative opening, plus (it) stops a lot of unnecessary purchasing.’
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant earlier said large stores such as warehouses and supermarkets were not actually driving transmission of the virus.
Instead smaller stores such as butchers and banks had seen higher transmission.
Included in the restrictions announced on Friday was the extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown to October with a 9am to 5pm curfew in place for LGAs of concern.
The restriction will apply to Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield and Penrith.
Only authorised workers – including emergency and medical staff – will be allowed to leave their homes during the time period.
Sweeping changes have also been introduced with police given more powers and a deadline set for childcare and disability workers to receive their Covid-19 jabs.
Childcare workers and disability support workers in the LGAs will be required to receive their first dose of the vaccine by August 30.
Regional NSW – including Shellharbour and Central Coast – are expected to have restrictions lifted as planned on August 28.
Sydneysiders will now have to wear masks whenever they’re outside except while exercising.
Four more people have died and include two women in their 80s – one from south-west Sydney and the other a resident at a Wyoming aged care facility.
A man in his 70s has died after acquiring the infection at St George Hospital as well as man in his 80s after contracting the virus at Nepean Hospital.
NEW COVID RESTRICTIONS IN NSW
THE NEW COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS IN NSW FROM AUGUST 23:
– Masks mandatory indoors and outdoors
– Parents strongly encouraged to keep children out of childcare
– Stay-at-home restrictions in Greater Sydney extended to September 30 (regional NSW settings to remain until August 28)
– All healthcare workers across NSW must get at least their first Covid-19 vaccination by September 30
RESTRICTIONS IN SYDNEY’S 12 COUNCIL AREAS OF CONCERN:
– Curfews from 9pm to 5am
– Exercise limited to one hour per day
– Garden centres, plant nurseries and stores selling office supplies, hardware and building supplies, landscaping supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies must close except for click and collect
– All education activities, bar HSC exams, will move online
– Childcare workers and disability support workers who live or work in the 12 council areas must get their first jab by August 30
– Authorised workers who work outside their council area can only work if rapid antigen testing is implemented at their worksite or they’ve had their first vaccination by August 30
– Authorised workers from the 12 council areas are required from August 28 to carry a Service NSW permit declaring they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home
– Anyone entering one of the 12 council areas of concern for work must carry a worker permit issued by Service NSW