A compromise proposal for Sunday opening put on the table, gov’t source says

A compromise proposal regarding a lifting of restrictions on Sunday opening for shops was put forward during talks between the Greek government and the institutions on Sunday and is now being examined on a staff level, a senior Greek government source revealed. The measure is among the recommendations made by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to the source, the compromise would mean that shops will not open on all Sundays and this will largely depend on how tourism areas are defined and the length of the tourism season. The formal length of the tourism period may be extended to five months instead of the present four and will be explicitly stated in the documents, the source said.

A second change will affect the way in which a tourism area is defined, with the source noting that the definition will include Athens but areas that are near the sea but possibly not neighbourhoods in Attica municipalities.

A compromise deal was also reached regarding the OECD’s recommendations that Greece allow the sale of non-prescription drugs outside pharmacies, though agreement is still pending on a few OECD recommendations relating to the opening of markets and professions.

The institutions are pressing for retailers to have greater freedom to open on Sunday, in spite of a Council of State ruling saying that shop opening beyond the current eight Sundays a year is unconstitutional. Sources said the institutions want the abolition of restrictions on Sunday opening relating to both location and size and to reduce the involvement of regional authorities in deciding shop opening times.

Current rules do not allow Sunday opening for retail chains, retail parks, discount parks or shops-in-shops, as well as introducing restrictions depending on the size of shops.