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Greece to have commercial stores operate overnight

With an unprecedented regulation the Greek government decided to have commercial stores open overnight and thus from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next day.

The amendment has been submitted by the Ministry of Development and provides for the overnight operation of commercial stores.

In the relevant introduction, the Ministry uses the pretext of commercial actions such as the “White Nights” [taking place once per year!] and bazaars.

However, it is reportedly not only limited to these actions as it provides in general and vaguely that the opening hours of commercial shops and shops providing services to consumers that are allowed to operate, from 06:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday and on Sundays, they can be extended until 6 the next morning.

“The extension of operating hours overnight depends of the decision of  the locally competent Mayor upon proposal of the local trade association,” the Ministry noted clearly hinting to touristic areas.

the regulation includes also several days during the year, where the overnight operation is forbidden.

A ban on the operation of commercial shops overnight is provided for in the regulation for the Sunday on which national elections are held in order, as stated, to enable the unhindered exercise of the electoral rights of those who engage in commercial activity or work in the trade sector, and in particular non-residents.

The regulation also states that commercial shops and shops providing services to consumers are not allowed to operate on the following days:

-The first day of the year (New Year’s)

-On the day of the Epiphany (January 6),

-On Clean Monday (movable holiday), except for food stores,

-On the day of the celebration of the Greek Revolution of 1821 (March 25)

– On Easter Sunday and Monday (movable holiday),

-On the day of the Labor Day celebration (May 1st),

-On the day of the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15th),

-On the day of the celebration of NO (October 28)

– On Christmas Day and the day after it (December 25th and 26th) and

-The Sunday on which the national elections are held.

It is not clear when the amendment will be voted by the Parliament as it is scheduled to be dissolved on April 12 due to the upcoming elections on May 21.

It should be noted that an overnight operation of commercial stores should be also accompanied by a Labor Ministry legislation regarding the night-shift remuneration of the employees.

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  1. Why can’t we just have normal operating hours like the rest of the world? You always have to think what day of the week it is to make it downtown for some shopping.

    • Opening hours here are pretty much the same as in France, Spain and probably Italy – apparently Germany still applies “Never on a Sunday”.