COVID Emergency Management Direction

The COVID Emergency Management Direction that came into effect on Monday, 19 July 2021 (updated several times since) contains the following provision:

  • Despite any provision of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977, a shop (within the meaning of that Act) may open and close at any time for the purposes of the provision of essential goods or services.

These arrangements are expected to remain in place at least up to and including Tuesday, 27 July 2021.

The deregulation of shop trading hours provided by the Direction is only applicable to those shops that are providing an “essential retail service”. Any other retail shop must remain closed during the Direction period.

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Trading hours for retailers in South Australian shopping districts are regulated by the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 and Shop Trading Hours Regulations 2018.

Where a shop is located, its size and what it sells determines whether it is exempt or non-exempt from the state's shop trading laws. This in turn determines trading days and hours, including for weekends and public holidays.

Shopping districts

South Australia's shopping districts are:

  • the Greater Adelaide Shopping District comprising:
  • 3 Proclaimed Shopping Districts:
    • Binnum which includes the towns of Binnum, Frances and Kybybolite
    • Grace which includes the town of Mallala
    • Millicent.

Non-exempt shops

South Australia’s retail trading laws apply to non-exempt shops. A non-exempt shop is any shop that is not defined as an exempt shop. A non-exempt shop can trade during the following hours.

Shopping districts
 CBD Metro & Glenelg Proclaimed Districts
Weekdays until 9pm until 9pm until 6pm
until 9pm Thursday
Saturdays until 5pm
includes Easter Saturday
until 5pm
includes Easter Saturday
until 5pm
except Easter Saturday
Sundays 11am to 5pm
12pm to 5pm Anzac Day
11am to 5pm
except Easter Sunday
Public holidays 11am to 5pm CLOSED CLOSED
Good Friday & Christmas Day CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Specific retailers
  Hardware, furniture, floor coverings, motor vehicle parts and accessories Car and boat dealerships
Weekdays until 9pm until 6pm Mon, Tue, Wed
until 9pm Thurs & Fri
Saturdays until 5pm
includes Easter Saturday
until 5pm
except Easter Saturday
Sundays 9am to 5pm
12pm to 5pm Anzac Day
Public holidays 9am to 5pm CLOSED
Good Friday & Christmas Day CLOSED CLOSED

Exempt shops

An exempt shop can trade on any day of the year during hours that suit the needs of the business and its customers. An exempt shop is a shop that:

  • is not located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District
  • is located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District and:
    • has a retail floor area not exceeding 200m² or not exceeding 400m² if a supermarket/grocery store, and
    • has an adjacent or adjoining storage area no bigger than half the shop's retail floor area
  • is a hairdressers shop
  • is a plant nursery
  • hires goods, such as machinery etc
  • is, regardless of size and provided at least 80% of sales are goods typically sold in one of these shops:
    • cafes, restaurants and take-away food
    • shops within ten pin bowling alleys, squash centres and golf courses
    • antiques, other than coins or stamps
    • live fish and aquariums etc.
    • paintings and crafts
    • bookshops and newsagents
    • pharmacies
    • cosmetics
    • medical and surgical appliances
    • florists
    • non-alcoholic drinks, ice-cream, confectionery or light refreshments
    • pets and accessories
    • souvenirs
    • tobacconists
    • cash-and-carry wholesale warehouses
    • horticultural or agricultural shows
    • short-term charitable, religious or benevolent sponsored
    • agricultural machinery
    • fine art, either by auction or on commission
    • caravans and/or trailers
    • petrol stations.

Special exemptions

Temporary exemptions from South Australia's legislated shop trading hours are granted or declared by the Minister responsible for the Act (currently the Hon Rob Lucas MLC, Treasurer) and can be:

  • a single general exemption for non-exempt shops in specified shopping districts, often used at times of the year when many applications would otherwise be made such as the Christmas shopping period
  • an individual exemption by making a direct application to the Treasurer.

Exemptions should not be overly extensive as to undermine, to any significant degree, existing shop trading hours laws.

Individual exemption requests are assessed considering:

  • extent and outcome of community consultation
  • special locations, such as exhibitions, shows, community or trade events
  • tourist and visitor requirements
  • amount and extent of prior public notice.

Please contact us for further advice on the exemption process.