So after a brief suspension for the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games England’s Sunday trading restrictions seem likely to come back into force. Is this a good thing or not?
In England, large shops (those with a retail floor area of over 280 square metres or 3,000 square feet) are only allowed to open for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday, opening no earlier than ten am and closing no later than six pm. During the period that London is hosting the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games that follow them, the Sunday trading hours restrictions have been lifted but it was made clear that this is only temporary.
As someone who is incredibly disorganised I’ve long found these restrictions a real pain. My local supermarket opens from ten am to four pm on a Sunday and many times I’ve realised just after it closed that I’ve run out of something I need to make my packed lunch for Monday. But as luck would have it, right through the period the shops have been open for longer I’ve got my act together and not needed it! And the building of a mini-supermarket (which having a retail floor area below the limit at which opening hours become restricted) close by has at long last solved the problem of the Sunday evening chocolate and/or beer craving.
It’s a serious issue, Sunday trading laws, involving matters like freedom for businesses to do what they want versus at least some guaranteed time off on a Sunday for shop workers, and the tradition of Sunday as a day of rest versus the modern secular society. But will I miss the extra few hours the supermarkets are open when the law comes back into force in a couple of weeks? No, not really.