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Krakow shopping mall (Wikimedia)

Polish lawmakers pass bill to end Sunday shopping

The Polish government has passed legislation that will end shopping on Sundays by 2020, reported the Catholic Herald this week.

Published: November 30, 2017, 9:43 am

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    Polish lawmakers on Friday approved the government’s bill to gradually phase out Sunday shopping over the next three years.

    Poland’s religious community includes 87 percent Catholic believers. In addition, there are about 507 000 Polish Orthodox Christians and 150 000 Protestants.

    Its Christian culture and the government’s desire for families to spend more time together, were cited as the main reason for the bill. Trade unions supported the bill saying it would allow workers to spend more time with their families, The Associated Press reported.

    Poland’s lower house of Parliament, the Sejm, passed the shopping day proposal last week by a vote of 254 to 156.

    The legislation would “restrict Sunday shopping to the first and last Sunday of the month until the end of 2018, only on the last Sunday in the month in 2019, and to ban it totally starting in 2020,” reported the Herald.

    The legislation would nevertheless allow shopping on those Sundays just before a major holiday.

    The bill is heading to the Polish Senate, where it is expected to pass. Once it passes, President Andzrej Duda, is expected to sign the bill into law.

    Sunday shopping is recent in Central and Eastern Europe, including in Poland, the region’s largest economy.

    The conservative Polish parliament and government pushed for the change over objections that shopping restrictions would hurt the economy and employment.

    Poland’s largest clothing retailer, LPP, generates 18 percent of revenue from Sunday shoppers, Bloomberg noted. Particularly cross-border shoppers from Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Slovakia, according to AFP, travel to Poland.

    But Poland’s Catholic bishops issued a statement saying that all workers should enjoy Sundays off, the AP reported.

    Hungary introduced a ban on Sunday shopping in 2015 but lifted it a year later because the public complained. Last year, a Czech law banned most stores from opening on public holidays.

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