A Tasmanian mayor is urging residents to support local businesses as new figures show retail sales have had their biggest monthly fall on record.
"The COVID-19 crisis has turned the national economy on its head, and there is no doubt there will be many challenges ahead for local business as we return to normalcy," Central Coast Mayor Jan Bonde said in the council's latest newsletter.
"We must all play our part in helping our local economy recover.
"Shopping locally and supporting local trades and services will be crucial as we move forward."
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated national retail turnover dropped by a thumping 17.9 per cent in April in seasonally adjusted terms.
"This is the strongest seasonally adjusted fall ever published from the retail trade survey, following the strongest ever seasonally adjusted rise in March 2020," the ABS said.
It said April turnover was down 9.4 per cent compared to April 2019.
"The food retailing industry, which saw a strong rise in March due to unprecedented demand, fell 17.1 per cent from March 2020," it said.
"While March saw a mix of impacts related to COVID-19 across industries, these impacts were overwhelmingly negative in April as regulations regarding social distancing measures limited the ability of businesses to trade as normal for the entire month.
"Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and department stores fell heavily in April and there were no offsetting rises in the other industries."
It said turnover in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaways was about half the level of April 2019.
Cr Bonde said the virus was unpredictable and she was "not getting too excited about the dramatic trailing off of cases".
"As much as I want to think the crisis is over, I think it will be prudent to continue social distancing and stick to good personal hygiene practices for some time yet.," she said.
"We owe our vigilance to all those amazing people who have worked so tirelessly to keep us safe and secure during the lockdown."