In Thurgau, no expansion of Sunday sales is planned due to Covid-19
The Arbon SP canton councilor Jacob Auer fears that the corona pandemic could lead to desires for more approved Sunday sales. According to the economic director of the canton of Zurich, the need is “undisputed”. The Thurgau government council, on the other hand, declines: In the legislative period 2020–2024, no amendment of the shop opening hours law is planned.
It was a look across the canton border that made Jacob Auer puzzled. In a newspaper from January 23, 2021, he read that the Zurich economic director Carmen Walker Späh is calling for another four Sunday sales. The idea behind it: To compensate for the Sunday sales of 2020, which were canceled due to the corona pandemic, by doubling from four to eight. The government councilor is of the opinion that the need for Sunday sales is “undisputed”. In addition, not only the sales staff can benefit from more flexible labor law, but also the office staff.
At the latest at this line of argument, Jacob Auer saw red. Not only as the SP cantonal councilor for the Arbon district, but also as the president of the Unia Ostschweiz-Graubünden union. And all the more so with the following statement by Walker about more Sunday sales: “I have already brought them up on various occasions at the conference of cantonal economists, but also in discussions with Federal President Guy Parmelin.” In addition, a proposal for a professional initiative with this thrust had been submitted to the Zurich Cantonal Council.
Government is opposed to more Sunday sales
Jacob Auer picked up the keys without further ado and submitted a simple request to the Grand Council on January 27, 2021 with the title “Introduction of further Sunday sales in Thurgau”. In it he asked four questions: Has the Thurgau government also thought about this proposal? What is the opinion of Thurgau’s economic director Walter Schönholzer at these meetings? Are talks with the unions planned? What does a possible schedule look like?
The answers from the Thurgau government council are now available. These are summarized in two sentences: The guidelines of the government council for the 2020–2024 legislative period do not provide for any changes to the Act on Opening Hours of Shops; consequently, there is no timetable and there is no provision for unions to be heard. In addition, the head of the Department of Home Affairs and Economics represented the government’s negative stance.
In the canton of Thurgau, the law on shop opening hours (LöG) stipulates that the municipalities can authorize each store to be kept open on a maximum of four Sundays per calendar year. This does not apply to the five major public holidays, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, Federal Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer Day and Christmas Day. “In order to enable four additional Sunday sales in the canton of Thurgau, a revision of the LöG would be necessary,” the government stated in its reply. And she immediately refers to the referendum of May 22, 2006: With 61.4 percent no to 38.6 percent yes, an extension of the opening hours on Sundays and an equalization of high holidays with Sundays was rejected.
No signals of increased demand
How do you see the discussion about the Sunday sales at the Thurgau specialty stores? According to Matthias Hotz, President of TGshop, there are currently no signals from the ranks of the members of an additional need for sales Sundays: “The majority are satisfied with the four Sundays that are available.” Two of them are usually planned for Christmas shopping in the run-up to Christmas. In the eyes of Hotz, Sunday sales make sense above all if they are coordinated within the localities. “As many shops as possible should join in on a Sunday sale. That makes it attractive – for customers and for specialist shops. “
Narrowly rejected at the national level
Sunday sales have also recently been an issue at the national level. In the spring session of 2021, the commissions for economics and taxes of the National Council and Council of States applied for the amendment of the Covid-19 Act to give the cantons the option of twelve shopping Sundays in each of the years 2021 and 2022. With these additional sales days, the stores would have been able to compensate for the loss in sales they suffered due to the official closings. These motions were rejected, however, on March 4 in the Council of States (23 no to 18 yes with one abstention) and on March 8 in the National Council (96 no to 93 yes with four abstentions).
Jacob Auer is satisfied with the answers. “Above all with the clear stance of the Thurgau government and the Thurgau specialist shops,” as he says.
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Corona pandemic expansion Sunday sales planned Thurgau due Covid19