Easter 2020: Your state-by-state guide to retail trading rules

Easter

The annual Easter holiday period is right around the corner (at the end of this week, in fact), but with many Australian businesses already closed due to coronavirus restrictions, there’s understandably a different mood in the air. 

Cafes and restaurants across the country have switched to takeaway and delivery options only, while a growing number of retailers are temporarily closing their doors to keep staff and customers safe. 

Despite the restrictions, it’s still important for business owners to be aware of the public holiday trading rules and regulations at this time of the year, and the penalty rates that apply if your business is still open. 

Easter trading hours 2020

Retail trading hours for the Easter period vary by state, however, most of the states do have exemptions for small businesses, which means they can continue to trade over the extended break (as long as the coronavirus restrictions also allow it). 

Here are the upcoming public holidays business owners should be aware of:

  • Good Friday, April 10;
  • Easter Saturday, April 11;
  • Easter Sunday, April 12; and
  • Easter Monday, April 13.

Victoria

In Victoria, Good Friday is a restricted trading day, which means only exempt businesses business can open. 

Exempt shops are those with 20 or fewer staff members employed in their shop, or 100 or fewer people employed across the entire business. There are certain types of businesses that are also exempt, and can therefore trade, including chemists, petrol shops, restaurants, cafes, takeaway outlets, service providers and hire outlets. 

Victoria also observes public holidays on Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, however, there are only trading restrictions in place for Good Friday. 

New South Wales

New South Wales follows similar trading guidelines to Victoria, with the four Easter days treated as public holidays. 

Trading restrictions are in place on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which means non-exempt businesses cannot open. 

Under usual circumstances, supermarkets in NSW would need to adhere to restricted trading on Good Friday, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is allowing supermarkets to operate all day, provided their staff have freely elected to work that day. 

Queensland

Queensland has a complicated set of trading hour laws that mean retailers in one part of the state must observe different rules to others.

Independent retail shops that aren’t food and grocery retailers must close on Good Friday, with the state government advising that owners and operates of businesses that predominantly sell food or groceries are allowed to open their businesses from 7am on permitted trading days this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For an overview of the various trading hour restrictions across the state for non-exempt shops, click here

South Australia

Like Queensland, South Australia has a set of complex retail trading rules that determine which businesses can trade and when. 

The rules are based on locations, the size of shops and the retail category, and there is a lengthy list of exempt retailers. 

However, the SA government has made a number of changes to the trading rules this year, in response to COVID-19, and these new guidelines are summarised here

Western Australia

In Western Australia, small retail shops are exempt from most retail trading restrictions over Easter, and a small retail shop is defined as being “owned by up to six people who operate no more than four retail shops, in which up to 25 people work at any one time”.

Specialty retail shops are also exempt from most trading restrictions, including pharmacies, newsagents, and hardware, boating and craft shops. 

Non-exempt retailers must close on Good Friday, but the trading restrictions don’t cover restaurants, cafes, takeaway food shops and short-term markets.

Tasmania

Small retailers are able to trade without restrictions in Tasmania over Easter.

Good Friday and Easter Monday are observed as public holidays, as well as the Tuesday after Easter Monday, which this year falls on April 14. However, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are not considered public holidays. 

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory observes the four days between Good Friday and Easter Monday as public holidays. There are currently no trading restrictions in place for the Easter period.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory observes Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday as public holidays, however, Easter Sunday is not considered a public holiday. 

There are currently no trading restrictions in place across the Easter period.

Penalty rates 

For retailers that do trade over the Easter public holidays, it is important to remember penalty rates do apply. 

Check out the Fair Work Ombudsman’s pay calculator if you need help determining staff entitlements during the Easter period. 

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