Your state-by-state guide to retail trading rules

Source: Unsplash/Kentaro Toma.

The annual Easter holiday period is fast approaching, and it will bring with it a range of public holidays and trading restrictions across Australia.

Australian states and territories each have different laws that affect public holidays and trading over Easter, so it’s important to stay up to date with the rules and regulations in your region.

Here’s an overview of the public holidays and trading hours across each state and territory.

Easter trading hours 2021

The upcoming public holidays business owners should be aware of are:

  • Good Friday, April 15;
  • Easter Saturday, April 16;
  • Easter Sunday, April 17; and
  • Easter Monday, April 18.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, all four Easter days are treated as public holidays.

Trading restrictions are in place on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which means non-exempt businesses are unable to open.

There are 18 types of business that are exempt from the restrictions, as well as small shop retailers that employ four or fewer staff.

The full details of these exemptions are available at this NSW government website.


Victoria follows similar trading guidelines to NSW, with the four Easter days treated as public holidays.

In Victoria, Good Friday is a restricted trading day, which means only exempt businesses can open.

Exempt shops are those with 20 or fewer staff members employed in their shop, or 100 or fewer people employed across the entire business.

There are certain types of businesses that are also exempt, and can therefore trade, including chemists, petrol stations, restaurants, cafes, takeaway outlets, service providers and hire outlets.


Queensland observes all four days across the Easter period as public holidays: Good Friday, and Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Trading hours are only restricted for some businesses on Good Friday, however, there is a range of exempt businesses listed on this state government website.

All other independent retail shops that are not food and grocery retailers must close on Good Friday. They can then trade without restrictions during the rest of the Easter period.

For an overview of the various trading hour restrictions across the state for non-exempt shops, click here.

Western Australia

In Western Australia, small retail shops are exempt from most retail trading restrictions overer, and a small retail shop is defined as being “owned by up to six people who operate no more than four retail shops, in which up to 25 people work at any one time”.

Specialty retail shops are also exempt from most trading restrictions, including pharmacies, newsagents, and hardware, boating and craft shops.

Non-exempt retailers must close on Good Friday, but the trading restrictions don’t cover restaurants, cafes, takeaway food shops or short-term markets.

The state observes public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

South Australia

Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday are considered public holidays in South Australia.

Like Queensland, South Australia has a comprehensive set of retail trading rules that determine which businesses can trade and when.

The rules are based on location, the size of the shops and retail category, and there is a lengthy list of exempt retailers.

To make understanding the rules easier, SafeWork South Australia has a list of the guidelines here.


Small retailers are able to trade without restrictions in Tasmania over Easter.

Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, as well as the Tuesday after Easter Monday, which this year falls on April 19.

However, the Tuesday public holiday is generally only observed by the public service.

Northern Territory

This year, the Northern Territory is observing public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

There are currently no trading restrictions in place over the Easter period, although there are rules around the serving alcohol on Good Friday.

Australian Capital Territory

All four days, from Good Friday to Easter Monday, are public holidays in the Australian Capital Territory.

There are currently no trading restrictions in place for the Easter period, regardless of business size.

Penalty rates

For retailers and other businesses that do trade over the Easter public holidays, it is important to remember penalty rates apply.

Check out the Fair Work Ombudsman’s pay calculator if you need help determining staff entitlements during the Easter period.

This is an updated version of an article first published in March 2021.

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