In news that is set to send a wave of relief among salon owners, foot traffic through shopping centres is now at 95 our cent of pre-COVID levels, and are still rising. And with Christmas shopping about to kick into a higher gear, that number is expected to increase dramatically.

As such, new data from the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) has revealed that requests for rental assistance from salon owners has fallen, due to the improvement in retail conditions.

“The need for retail rental assistance has passed a critical turning point as retail trading conditions pick up and consumers return to stores,” SCCA Executive Director Angus Nardi said. “Every step towards normalised COVID-safe trading gives a boost to retail, whether it’s lifting patron limits or reducing the one person per four square metre density rule as we’ve seen in some jurisdictions.”

Mr Nardi stated that while SCCA members had made many sacrifices to help tenants during the lockdown, the primary focus now needed to be on ending rental assistance and allowing business owners – including salon owners – to resume paying their rent.

“Throughout the pandemic, our members have continued to provide valuable rental assistance to retailers, with nearly $2 billion of rental assistance provided to approximately 12,000 SME retailers,” Nardi said. “While some closures and restrictions such as maximum patron capacity remain in place, restrictions … have largely eased across the country. Our focus should be on getting everyone open and continuing to provide a COVID Safe and secure environment guided by public health principles, not bartering on rental agreements.”.

Mr Nardi also expressed the belief that the rental Code of Conduct should not be extended beyond the original December deadline.

“We strongly believe there is no evidence to justify any further extension of the Code of Conduct beyond December in jurisdictions such as Victoria, NSW and Queensland. It has served the purpose it was conceived for when we developed it with retailer groups in March.”

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