By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: Restrictions will apply for shop trading this Easter long weekend in New South Wales, with some stores required to close and others resigned to scrambling for business over the tricky holiday period.

Retailers in the Sydney and Newcastle central business districts along with Cabramatta may remain open, but those outside of these areas are required to close on Easter Friday and Easter Monday, according to NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca.

“General shops, including department stores, supermarkets, furniture, electrical, hardware, jewellery and clothing stores will be closed,” said Della Bosca.

Shops in areas where councils have been granted exemptions because they are expecting large numbers of holiday-makers are permitted to trade.

However, the Cummings Retravision store at Byron Bay will be closed all weekend, even though thousands of people will be flocking to the town to attend the annual Blues and Roots Festival which runs over the entire weekend.

“Tourists aren’t looking to buy fridges, televisions and washing machines,” said Retravision Cummings store franchisee, Dalton Cummings, who is also the franchisee of five other Cummings Retravision stores in the area including Ballina, Lismore, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast.

Cummings said locals won’t go shopping for appliances over the weekend, either, due in part to the roads being so busy but also because of their family commitments.

“Traditionally locals tend not to go shopping because the roads won’t take the traffic – they’re just too busy. It’s purely an issue of parking and crowds,” he said.

Cummings said the Lismore store will open for a half-day on Saturday, and the Gold Coast store is “required to stay open,” according to Cummings, but his other store will close, giving the staff a much-needed break.

“My staff all have families – I don’t want to make them work hard over the Easter weekend when they should be with their families,” said Cummings.

“Traditionally we’ve been a very family-orientated company. We didn’t used to be open Sundays. It was only when the Good Guys came into town that we began opening Sundays because of the competition.”

The NSW Minister for Industrial Relations agrees that Easter is a time for family and relaxation.

“Easter is an important holiday and the Iemma Government believes people working in the retail industry should have the opportunity to take time off so they cam spend time with their family and friends,” said Della Bosca.

Businesses that ignore shop trading laws will face penalties, however the restrictions don’t apply to chemists, take-away food outlets, newsagencies and video stores.