Ljubljana – Today is the first Sunday that almost all shops must remain closed in accordance with an amendment to the retail act that the National Assembly passed in late September.
The exemptions to the blanket ban include shops under 200 m2 at service stations, border crossings, ports, airports, train and bus stations, and hospitals.
Outside these facilities, shops with a surface area of under 200 m2 may open, but only shop owners, students and pensioners may work Sundays, regular employees may not.
The legislation was passed in a bid to give retail workers more free time and has been welcomed by retail trade unions.
Retailers, however, have said this may lead to massive layoffs as turnover declines. The Chamber of Commerce (TZS) said it would seek a constitutional review of the legislation.
Some retailers, including the country’s no. 1 grocer Mercator, have decided to replace shop closures with Sunday deliveries of online orders.
The TZS said the retail act amendments limit the opening hours of shops but does not affect the working hours of employees.
The Economy Ministry has said that online sales were a type of remote commerce that is not covered by the retail act amendment.
Trade unions insist that this is an attempt to bypass the intention of the law, which is to give workers Sundays off.