I hope you and your family are safe and well.
It’s certainly a difficult time for our customers, communities, retail partners and people in Greater Sydney. We all look forward to getting through this lockdown period. I wanted to share an update on how we are leading our business through this period, supporting our retailers and remaining connected with our customers and communities.
Our people and service providers continue to be extraordinary in their resilience and operational excellence. I want to thank them for their support of each other and our customers and retailers at this time.
Our centre teams are working at the frontline in our Westfield centres which remain open for customers to access their essential needs. I want to assure you we operate our centres with COVID Safe protocols in line with the latest government and health advice. In most states and territories this now includes QR Code check-in for centres. We have adjusted all signage and communications to remind customers of our shared responsibilities when visiting us including wearing face masks.
During this time of limited mobility in Greater Sydney, it’s more important than ever that we stay connected to our customers and communities. Our digital platforms, social media channels and our membership program Westfield Plus provide opportunities to listen to feedback and anticipate what our customers are most looking forward to when restrictions ease. Our experience to date gives us confidence we will once again see a similar rebound in customer visitation as soon as restrictions are removed.
The impact of the past couple of weeks and ongoing restrictions and uncertainty is being felt by all.
It’s especially tough for our SME retail partners or ‘mum and dad’ retailers in Greater Sydney. Many have temporarily closed as a result of the health orders while others have decided to close because of the additional limits on movement.
We are committed to working with SME retailers (aggregate annual turnover less than $5 million) to mitigate the short-term cashflow impact on their business during this time through appropriate rent deferral.
We know from support already provided through the height of the pandemic that this is the cohort of retailers who need assistance. Where needed, we encourage our SME retailers to contact their Westfield centre or Leasing account manager and talk to us about their individual circumstances.
We have offered to support the national COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Our Westfield centres are located in the heart of local communities and are visited frequently by our customers. For these reasons, we asked the relevant federal and state medical authorities to consider some of our Westfield centres as locations where temporary vaccination hubs can be set-up to make it easy and convenient for the community to access. We have an established track record in Victoria through our support for the State Government’s drive-through testing clinics in some of our centre carparks and are ready and willing to be of service if needed.
We continue to monitor the evolving situation.
Stay safe and thank you for your support.
Chief Executive Officer