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Opening Hours

Should opening hours be restricted?

What are opening hours?


They are the hours on a day by day basis of which a organisation is open for visitors or customers.

Wider Definition

  • Is advertising part of the shopping experience
  • What about on-line shops?
  • What is a shop, are small shops having the same restriction as big shops
  • What does Sunday mean? When its Sunday in Japan, its Monday in New Zealand

Types of restrictions

  • Full days
    Public holidays
  • Hours of day
In the U.K the Sunday Trading Act 1994 states that shops over 280 square metres in England and Wales are restricted to any six hours of continuous trading between 10:00 and 18:00 on Sundays. 
They cannot open at all on Easter Sunday.


The case for restricting opening hours

What's wrong with longer opening hours?

  • The workers may not want to work those hours.
    Workers who don't want to work hours can get other jobs where they are not required to work them, but why stop workers who want to work those hours.
  • This breaks traditions
    Most traditions had to start somewhere, and this will be a new tradition
  • Sunday is special for relationships
    People can still shop on-line and you can spend time with people in the mall. Even when going out with people you still consume an ice cream, or a meal, or put petrol in the car. All this requires workers.
  • It is anti Christian to open on Sunday
    How? Not all Christians agree and those Christians that do are not the only people in society why should everybody change their lifestyle for them
  • Longer opening hours will hurt small shops
    Potentially, but is the small shop model the best given the fact they need a subsidy, are shoppers there for the shops, or the shops there for the shoppers?
  • This is a class issue, rich will get richer
    Nonsense, the extra hours will give the rich more time to spend money and the poor more time to earn money transferring wealth. Shops that benefit like Tesco are owned by pension funds, pensioners are some of the poorest.
  • Workers will end up working 7 days a week
    The law can be constructed to give protections against workers being overworked
  • This is profit over principle
    Yes there is profit, which is bad because...? But which principle is being overruled?
  • People who are not forced to work Sundays and late nights want hours liberalised
    Those people are quite often forced to work mon-Fri, 9-5
  • This is not good for the economy, people don't have more money to spend because opening hours are longer
    Yes they do, those that were unemployed but now working will earn money, and company will have money as they only have to pay extra wages, not building or insurance costs etc.
  • Other workers would have to adjust, like extra public transport to get people to the shops.

Extra opening hours are good

  • Extra opening hours means less unemployment.
  • Extra opening hours utilise resources better
  • Extra opening hours raise more taxes (income and VAT)
  • People want extra shopping hours, if they didn't it wouldn't be worth shops opening those hours.
  • Opening more hours would spread the traffic on the roads and public transport, making them better.
  • All day opening on a Sunday will enable people to have the ability to go shopping prior or after a family day or been to church etc. At the moment the times clash.
  • Saturdays, Sundays and after hours are the best time to shop.
  • Shops will be better able to compete with the internet.
  • Students who wish to suplement income, are able to do so on weekends.
  • Tourism would benefit from increased spending from tourists.

Restricting opening hours is futile

  • In the U.K the restriction applies to shops of a certain size. Shops who wish to get around the rules will simply adjust shop sizes to fit within the exceptions.
  • It also means shops are less competitive with other countries.
  • Nowadays people lead flexible lives, the shopping hours inevitably will become more flexible
  • Why should someone's shopping habits be dictated by someone else?
  • When will people be able to shop in today's busy world when the shops are shut?
  • "Keep Sunday Special" = "Keep Sunday Medieval"

The case against restricting opening hours


  • Why is it that factory workers accept they have to work shifts, but unions are against shop workers working those shifts.
  • What about shop owners and shoppers, does their opinion not count? Or is it only some workers opinions that count.
  • Why is retail special, we still expect electricity, gas, newspaper delivery, bars and clubs, TV, prisons, petrol stations, doctors, water, public transport etc.etc
  • There is no off button for Twitter, Facebook, google etc, why should there be an off button for trading hours.
  • Spain and the US has later opening hours, but is more religious than the U.K
  • Life is 24/7, why not shopping?
  • Shouldn't opening hours just be one more freedom, like freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to work.
  • In North London, where the Jewish-run shops voluntarily close on Saturdays. No-one is stopping shops closing on Sunday.
  • How would churches feel if they were told to close on Sunday?
  • Weekends are the best time to shop, with workers being at work during the week. Its discriminatory against workers.
  • Companies cannot compete with online retail websites if they cannot open the same hours.
  • Shopping is a harmless activity
  • Isn't deciding for yourselves when you work, shop and open a shop a right? Who has the right to interfere with that?
  • Opening hours are very inconvenient for tourist. They have cash to spend the economy may miss out on.
Why don't the following open on a Sunday?
  • Banks
  • Government offices
  • Post office
  • All council offices/ services
  • Schools
There are huge environmental benefits of using buildings everyday rather than just 5 days a week. Is Sunday really Sacred?

Arbitrary rules
The U.K Sunday Trading Act 1994 states:
Shops more than 280 sq m in size are restricted to six continuous hours between 10am and 6pm. 
Why that size and why those hours???

Why are some firms excepted and other not?
 In NZ:
"The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 specifies that most shops must close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Exemptions include dairies and service stations being able to sell essential items, pharmacies able to trade as usual, and garden centres opening on Easter Sunday.

Shops in tourist destinations Taupo and Queenstown are also exempted."
Why can any shop in Queenstown open but almost any shop in nearby Wanaka need to be shut? Both have tourists!

Double Whammy

Retailers, restaurants already have to pay extra on public holidays to staff, even if it was legal to open, they put opening up on these days in the too hard basket.
Effectively the extra pay, is a another restriction on opening hours.


Unions tend to object to longer opening hours, but they aren't elected so how much should their opinion count.
Why do unions so blatantly disadvantage their members by not giving them the choice to work longer on Sundays

At the moment retailers are forced to close. With deregulation no-one will be forced to do anything. There is nothing in deregulation that forces anybody.

Allowing unregulated opening hours is consistent with separation of church and state.


Will those calling for restricted shopping hours compensate businesses for lost earning and shoppers for lost opportunities to shop?

Why don't consumers, workers and businesses decide shopping hours?  If any of these groups does not want to participate in longer hours shops will simply shut for those hours.
Is it really the job of politicians to be responsible for when we shop,work or open?

Opening a shop is a victim-less crime, in fact it is not even a crime. However forcing a shop to shut affects, owners, shoppers and staff. Who is the perpetrator in this circumstance? Is it the lawmakers themselves?


  • Rather than restrict evening shopping hours and days weekly, why not just have one special day a month for doing so.
  • Let shops open longer hours if they pay an hourly tax, or height pay to do so.
  • This should be decided on a very local level, not national level

What next?

Reference 590