Belgium considers keeping shops open 7 days a week

Belgium considers keeping shops open 7 days a week
Credit: Belga

A bill to suspend the obligation for businesses to close shop one day a week until the end of the year was tabled by Flemish liberal party Open VLD.

Most stores were forced to close between March 18 and May 11 as part of the government’s far-reaching measures to combat the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Since their reopening, businesses are still suffering shortfalls due to health safety measures, said liberal MPs Kathleen Verhelst and Robby De Caluwé. The goal of this bill is to partially compensate for the losses incurred as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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The weekly rest day for businesses consists of an uninterrupted 24-hour closure period starting either at 5 a.m. or 1 p.m. and ending the next day at the same time. It must remain the same for at least six months, and doesn’t need to fall on a Sunday.

Besides the financial benefit, shops will be able to better guarantee social distancing between customers by the extra time slots the new working day would free up.

"For many businesses, making a good turnover on what is left of the year is a matter of life and death," the two elected representatives argue.

The Brussels Times

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