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Athens Merchants Oppose Sunday Openings

shopperThe Greek government’s plan to allow more Sunday store openings to give a boost to store owners has run into a roadblock – from the merchants themselves – who don’t want their businesses to run seven days a week, even for a limited amount of weekends.
Only one in eight (12.34 percent) Athens merchants is in favor of commercial stores operating on Sundays beyond the seven per year that the law provides for, according to a survey conducted by the Athens Tradesmen Association among its members. Those in Thessaloniki, however, are more eager to see if Sunday openings will bring in more customers and are planning two more Sunday work days.
Sundays, apart from selected holiday periods when stores are allowed to open, are traditionally a quiet day in Greece and the Greek Orthodox Church strongly opposes allowing more businesses to remain open, apart from convenience stores, liquor stores and tourist shops and small businesses.
The survey of 198 members of the Athens association on August 28-30 found that 86.3 percent are against opening on any more Sundays than the seven dictated by law, with shopkeepers in areas popular with tourists in the capital being the most vehement in their opposition to extended Sunday openings (91.7 percent).
The head of the Thessaloniki Tradesmen Association, Costas Hantzaridis, and the chief of the Regional Authority of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzicostas, agreed on Tuesday on the trial opening of the city’s commercial stores for two additional Sundays, during the operation of this year’s Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
The new law dictates that regional authorities have until Nov. 8 to decide on any additional Sundays stores up to 250 square meters can open beyond the two Sundays before Christmas, one before Easter and once during each of the four sales periods. There is speculation the plan is leading toward eventual year-round Sunday operation of stores.

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