Over the past 15 months, thousands of small businesses have born the economic brunt of lockdowns and restrictions when Covid cases appeared in our cities.

Now, new research reveals that a vast majority of Australians have not agreed with Government-mandated business closures and do not want businesses subject to them again should another lockdown occur.

Leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) commissioned a survey of an independent panel of 1010 Australians to gauge consumer sentiment on Government-mandated business closures. The full survey results, across age groups and State breakdowns, can be found here.

CP found that three in four Australians (77 per cent) think it was unfair that big retailers deemed essential services could continue trading during last years’ pandemic-induced lockdowns while small retailers had to close.

Even with the one-person-per-4sqm rule put in place to limit close contact and to slow the spread of the virus, some small retailers were forced to shut shop due to space limitations. The findings reveal that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents thought this restriction was unnecessary to minimise the spread.

CP also asked respondents if they would want both small and big retailers to remain open, should another lockdown occur again. Nearly 9 in 10 (88 per cent) agreed that all retailers should follow the same rules.

The recent seven-day lockdown in Melbourne saw many local businesses hit hard, with some business leaders forecasting it would cost them more than $1 billion. Despite the Victorian Government providing a $250 million business support package – set to help 90,000 SME businesses and sole traders – CP CCO Paul Roper says consumers play a vital role in helping small retailers and small businesses recover.

Paul Roper, Chief Commercial Officer at CP, says: “We know consumer confidence takes a hit each time a State goes into lockdown, which has a long-lasting impact on businesses. We’ve also seen many retailers over the past 12 months go under as a result of these restrictions, and consumers want to avoid this continuing.

“Despite SMEs receiving some Government support, I encourage shoppers to support and spend with the small players, now more than ever. Small purchases can have a huge positive impact on a small retailer, particularly if there are multiple shoppers getting behind them. Support for businesses can also go beyond spending – with the power of social media and online reviews, a social post or a positive review about the business can be very impactful. It’s important that as our economy recovers, we show our support for the micro and small players – those most affected – and help them get through this challenging period.”