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Shopping centres remain open but further restrictions put in place

Shopping centres around the country will remain open but additional services will close from midnight tonight, following the most recent National Cabinet meeting.

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This includes beauty therapy, day spas, massage, nail bars, laser clinics, tanning and waxing salons. Hairdressers will remain open with appointments limited to 30 minutes and the one person per four square metre rule applies. Food court seating areas will be closed but food and dining operators remain open and can continue take-away and delivery services.

All other retail and services remain trading with physical distancing in place throughout centres and retail stores.

Vicinity Centres CEO and managing director Grant Kelley said, “We support the clear message that physical distancing is a key defence against the spread of COVID-19, and we have put in place measures to reiterate to the community to keep a healthy distance from one another while they are visiting our centres.

“From last Friday, we’ve updated and increased the promotion of physical distancing, removed food court seating and closed playgrounds. We continue working with our food and beverage retailers to ensure physical distancing during ordering and pick up and are assisting with any new requirements they have for delivery.”

Kelley said Vicinity’s teams had been working to prepare the business and its retailers for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and were operationally mobilised to put in place any necessary Government measures as they come into effect.

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“We are continuing to work directly with our retailers on a case-by-case basis, including both our retailers who continue to trade and those that aren’t operational, and are committed to supporting them during this period of uncertainty and unprecedented challenge.”

Customers should contact closing or closed retailers directly if they have any outstanding queries. For a list of retailers that are currently closed, visit each centre’s website.

Retailers voluntarily choose to close stores 

Mosaic Brands, parent company of women’s fashion brands Millers, Rockmans, Noni B, Rivers, Katies, Autograph, W Lane, Crossroads and Beme released a trading update to the ASX today, announcing that all store operations will be suspended temporarily, effective Thursday 26 March, impacting 6,800 employees.

“All team members affected by the store closures will be stood down with access to leave entitlements while the group reviews government support schemes that may be available to them. The group will continue to communicate regularly with the team and will offer other forms of support through this difficult time and period of uncertainty, including access to its Employee Associate Program,” the statement read.

Mosaic Brand’s online operations will continue and customers will be able to purchase from all nine brand websites.

Fashion retailer Forever New today announced that its stores will close until further notice.

The Forever New website will remain open with no delays to delivery at this time and Australia Post will be providing contactless deliveries with no signature required. The returns period will be been extended by 14 days after store re-open for all store purchases made on or after 11 March 2020.

Educational toy store, Kidstuff has temporarily closed all of its stores, effective Tuesday 24 March.

An email sent to its customers read: “As we move into this unprecedented time of uncertainty with regards to the COVID-19 virus, our main priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our Kidstuff family…This is not a decision that was made lightly but we feel it’s in the best interest of our people and you, our extended family.”

Customers are still able to shop educational toys, puzzles and games through the Kidstuff online store with increased hygiene and safety policies implemented for online orders, in line with Australia Post, which may slightly delay delivery.

The Kidstuff in-store refund policy has been put on hold until stores reopen. Any purchases made in store between 26 February and 23 March 2020 will be eligible for a refund on items that want to be returned assuming they meet the returns criteria. Online orders can continue to be returned to the Kidstuff warehouse.

Physical gift cards purchased in store can be used online. Queries can be sent via email to customercare@kidstuff.com.au.

Kidstuff is also encouraging customers to stay connected and follow the Kidstuff Facebook and Instagram channels.

“We are forever looking for new ways that we can inspire individuality and reward curiosity, and rely on you, our community, to give your input and feedback on what can bring more joy,” the email read.

“We continue to review the situation on a regular basis so check our website for the latest updates.”

Michael Hill Jewellers made the decision to close all Australian stores on Monday until further notice, given the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and direction from the state and federal governments.

“Thank you for your continued support and loyalty during these uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all of you who have been affected by this unprecedented situation,” CEO Daniel Bracken said.

“We stand for love of our people, our customers and our community and the health and safety of our team members and you, our customer remains our highest priority.

“We will endeavour to keep you fully informed on any future changes during this time and we will re-open as soon as we are given approval by government health authorities.”

In the meantime, Michael Hill has expanded its support teams and the online business will continue to operate as usual and there are currently no impacts on delivery times. Customers can also contact Michael Hill via telephone, live chat or direct message on its website.

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