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Cabinet Chief Defends Controversial State Restrictions On Sunday Shopping

Tamás Székely 2015.03.24.

Any measure which reduces the number of people working on Sunday should be welcomed, János Lázár, the head of the prime minister’s office, told Népszabadság daily. Out of 4 million people working in Hungary one million work on Sundays too, “which is a lot,” Lázár told the paper. If a referendum on Sunday retail work goes ahead, the governing parties will campaign and try to persuade voters of their conviction. But if it goes the other way, they will respect voters’ decision, he said. Péter Harrach, the head of the minor governing KDNP’s parliamentary group, said earlier that the law on Sunday shopping restrictions should be reviewed for their impact in about two months’ time and further exemptions could be incorporated.

The Economy Ministry published a survey from 2011 on the government’s website on Monday, however, it underlined that the survey was not an impact study, as Népszabadság had suggested earlier. The ministry denied there has been an impact study done on weighing up the possible outcome of the law on shopping restrictions on Sunday. The survey showed that 54% of respondents surveyed in 2011 were against closing stores on Sundays, and almost 38% said they regularly shopped on Sundays, while 18.5% said they used their Sunday shopping trips to stock up for the week. About 69% said they did their Sunday shopping at multinational chains. Almost 60% said they could shop elsewhere or do their shopping on another day of the week.

Meanwhile many shopping malls across the country a decided to remain open on Saturdays to enable cinemas, restaurants and other retail units complying with regulations to operate despite the general ban on Sunday retail activity following 15 March. The Parliament adopted legislation on declaring Sundays a day of rest for retail employees on 16 December last year. The law includes several exceptions, such as the possibility for stores to remain open on Sundays in the Advent period and a freely chosen Sunday. Additionally, stores with a floor area below 200 square metres are permitted to remain open on the last day of the week, but only the owner or a family member is allowed to work in them.

via hungarymatters.hu and nol.hu photo: Zsolt Revicky – nol.hu