Czech MPs Seek to Repeal Mandatory Shop Closures on Public Holidays

After two years in existence, some Czech officials are now fighting to overturn the forced closure of larger stores on public holidays

For the past two years, stores in the Czech Republic over 200 meters in size have been forced to close during public holidays.

Well, not all public holidays: large stores must only close on New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, Liberation Day (May 8), Czech Statehood Day (September 28), Independent Czechoslovak State Day (October 28), Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day. Additionally, stores must close by 12:00 on Christmas Eve.

But on other public holidays, including Good Friday, Labor Day (May 1), Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day and Jan Hus Day (July 5-6), and Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day (November 17), shops may remain open.

Designed to ensure employees of larger stores do not work during public holidays, the mandatory closures have been deemed both confusing and ineffective.

Now, some members of Czech parliament are seeking support in officially repealing the law that dictates the mandatory closures.

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“This law unnecessarily restricts businesses, as well as customers,” Markéta Pekarová Adamová, First Vice President of the TOP 09 party, said in a written statement.

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According to a proposal by TOP 09 to repeal the law, not only does it restrict businesses and shoppers, but it’s also confusing – even after two years, people are unsure which public holidays larger stores must close, and on which they can remain open.

Also, the party argues, it’s ineffective in its intended purpose to ensure employees get the day off. The ban only applies to retail, so while stores must close to customers during the holidays, many still remain operational to perform inventory or other tasks.

Earlier this year, MPs from ODS also sought to repeal the law. While unsuccessful, they may now have some additional support.

Still, other lawmakers – and some citizens – would like to see the mandatory closures extend to all holidays. That, at least, would clear up some of the confusion.

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