Czech Republic Eyes Introducing Holiday Shopping Ban
Although opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs would prefer to have shops open all year round, large supermarkets may remain closed on state holidays as of next year.
The lower house of the Czech parliament is currently discussing a government-backed and Senate approved bill under which all large stores would have to close on all public holidays, including Easter and Christmas.
Although opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs would prefer to have shops open and 65 per cent of respondents said the state had no reason to interfere in the matter, it seems that this time around more deputies may be inclined to support the proposal.
Similarly to the Sunday shopping ban put in effect this spring in Hungary, the planned restrictions would not affect shops with a sales area of less than 200 square metres, petrol stations, pharmacies, stores at airports or railway stations.
Curbing opening hours on holidays has been debated in the Czech Republic for several years and has the backing of the country’s trade unions and some church leaders, according to Radio Prague.
The Czech Chamber of Commerce has come out strongly against the plan. Its chief, Vladimir Dlouhý said that the proposal could lead to wage reductions or layoffs. In an interview with the Czech Radio, Vladimir Dlouhý said that such a ban would represent an unjustified intervention on the part of the state in the business sphere.
In the Czech Republic, many supermarkets, hypermarkets and shopping centres already shut every 25 December and New Year’s Day, despite the fact that they are not required to by law.
Similar legislation is in place in 10 European Union states, including Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
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