Queenslanders have again been urged to avoid online shopping if they are to increase their chances of escaping lockdown on Sunday.
Businesses trying to survive on online sales reacted angrily on Wednesday when the chief health officer urged consumers to reconsider online shopping and click and collect for more than the basics.
Despite the reaction of business groups and traders, Jeannette Young doubled this opinion on Thursday.
She said it was a simple fact that the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the southeast would be lower if fewer delivery drivers were on the move.
“The less movement in our community that we can handle, the better,” Dr. Young told reporters.
“That’s for everything… If it’s not essential, then put it off for a few days, and hopefully that means we might be able to get by on Sunday.”
Dr Young expressed surprise at the lockdown’s effectiveness and said she hoped it ended as scheduled at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
“We didn’t expect to be this far ahead of the virus,” she said after detailing 16 new locally acquired cases, all but four of which were isolated while infectious.
Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said he was also encouraged and said it was too early to talk about further support for businesses if the lockdown was not lifted.
But the opposition said the government’s $ 260 million support package for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the lockdown was woefully inadequate even before Dr Young called for a suspension of non-essential online shopping.
“If health advice regarding online shopping has changed, the compensation available to keep these businesses afloat must also change,” Opposition Leader David Crisafulli told reporters.
He wants the government to introduce a sliding scale of compensation, rather than offering all small and medium-sized businesses the same payment of $ 5,000.
And he calls for changes to ensure that independent traders earning less than $ 75,000 can also access help.
The National Retail Association said it was dismayed by Dr. Young’s call to boycott non-essential online shopping.
He said retailers couldn’t get a definitive answer from the government on who was and was not considered an essential trader, and consumers were urged to buy online one minute and avoid the next.
The women behind the Gold Coast small business, Leina and Fleur, have expressed concern over the prospect of falling sales and their desperation over business rules during the lockdown.
“This is a real mixed message and we are constantly online reviewing the protocols for defining what an essential business is,” co-owner Fleur Richardson told AAP.
“Monthly online retail for Australia averages around $ 3 billion. Given that Sydney is in a substantial lockdown, if everyone were to slow things down to prevent a courier driver from delivering anything. thing safe at your front door, that would be pretty disastrous. “
The coronavirus outbreak that has quarantined 11 local government areas in the southeast now involves 79 infections, including the 16 new local cases reported on Thursday.
All cases involve the highly transmissible Delta variant and center on the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly.
Associated Australian Press