EXCLUSIVE: Calls grow to re-open Australia for business
- Diamond dealer Garry Holloway has lashed out at retailers that have closed
- Mr Holloway’s shop is covered in signs declaring proudly it is open for business
- The respected diamond expert has urged retailers to get back to work now
- His claims come amid growing calls for Australia to re-open for business
- Australia has managed to significantly flatten the curve on COVID-19 infections
- But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says it is too early to lift restrictions
A high-profile jeweller who refused to shut up shop during the COVID-19 lockdown has accused the government of ‘terrorism’ and claims retailers that have closed ‘ought be ashamed’ – as calls grow for business to get back to work.
Holloway Diamonds’ founder Garry Holloway has plastered his Canterbury shop, in Melbourne‘s leafy inner east, with banners declaring: ‘We Are Open’ and ‘People need to be paid’.
With more than 100,000 retail workers stood down since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the economy in freefall, pressure is mounting on the government to re-open shops as the curve of infections continues flatten.
But a cautious Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned against lifting restrictions on Australian businesses too early as it would risk a ‘second wave’ of infections.
Holloway Diamonds’ boss Garry Holloway says retailers that have closed their doors should be ashamed of themselves for putting people off work
A Just Jeans retail outlet in Melbourne stands closed after the decision by its parent company Premier Investments was made to shut it’s stores and stand down staff on March 29
‘There are real challenges ahead. People should not be complacent. Patience is a real virtue,’ he said on Thursday.
People walking past Mr Holloway’s shop on Thursday stopped to take photos of his public protest.
One sign stuck in his shop window states: ‘Retailers that shut and laid off people should be ashamed of themselves! Only nails and beauty salons have been closed by law.’
‘These are crazy times,’ one woman told Daily Mail Australia.
But a defiant Mr Holloway stood by his statements when questioned by Daily Mail Australia.
‘I think they should be ashamed of themselves,’ Mr Holloway said on Thursday.
‘Because they’ve put people off. What are they going to do for money?’
Mr Holloway said while it was simple for large retailers, with more financial clout to close down, smaller retailers should remain open to support their staff.
‘Those part timers, they’re not going to get paid. They’re closed, so they’re not going to get the $750 a week. So consequently nobody goes to the shops,’ he said.
Mr Holloway said people could not survive long without immediate income coming in.
‘It’s pretty bad. You’ve put people off now for two or three weeks … How many people that work in retail and tourism and all sorts of businesses now don’t have anything to pay the rent? To pay for food?’ he said.
‘In a year we’re going to be stuffed if people don’t stand up to be counted and actually force the government to relax a little bit.’
It is a growing sentiment among some of the nation’s largest retailers, who have joined the chorus in asking the government for a view to the end of the lockdown.
Holloway Diamonds in Canterbury is a shining beacon of retail health among a quiet strip of shops that includes another jeweller just down the street, which remains closed
One of many signs stuck to the windows of Holloway Diamonds in Canterbury, just outside of Melbourne
Closed shop fronts are seen inside an Outlet Shopping Centre in Canberra on Wednesday