January 20, 2021

Extended Sunday, holiday shopping time will give Manitoba stores more flexibility, says lawyer

Extended Sunday shopping time in Manitoba will open up more opportunities for retailers, says a group of retailers.

On Thursday, the province passed legislation removing restrictions on Sunday and holiday shopping, which prevented stores from opening from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The changes came into effect this weekend, although current infection controls have prevented the sale of non-essential items and forced some stores to close temporarily.

According to John Graham of the Retail Council of Canada, Manitoba’s laws are considered obsolete for many years compared to other parts of the country.

The timing of the change may seem odd as shopping restrictions are in place, which will help shop owners and shopkeepers even more, he said.

“It will allow for a few extra hours and better body distance and can introduce things like seniority and health care [worker] Sunday is the start of the day, “Graham said.

“It’s been a long time coming and is an important law that allows retailers to be more flexible in operating on a demand basis.”

The law to change the shopping time was introduced last year, but the scheme was canceled in September After the previous legislative session. In October, the province reintroduced the law and expedited it.

The law passed by Graham earlier this week may have been a very short notice to stores to implement changes by the weekend, but shoppers may find extended hours next weekend in stores that have not yet made changes.

He said the new rules allow for more flexibility for stores to compete with round-the-clock online shopping sites.

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“Ten years ago, a retailer’s biggest competitor hit the streets. Now, for many retailers, their biggest competitor is online. [and] It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ”

Change follows the election pledge

Progressive Conservatives have casually turned shopping time into an election promise in 2019.

Earlier that year, the owner of an independent Winnipeg grocery chain was fined $ 10,000 for opening on Good Friday. Jeet, the owner of Footfire, fought the fine, which was eventually dropped.

Jeet said it does not plan to expand its stores ’Sunday hours yet due to insufficient demand from customers.

“Now the only thing that will change is that when we open during the holidays, we don’t have to worry about someone coming home and fining us,” Jeet said.

He said he was thankful that his stores could be legally open during the holidays, but he did not know how customers would respond to new shopping times.

“This epidemic has really changed a lot of people’s habits. When it’s over, let’s see what happens,” he said. “I have a feeling that people are going to try more family time.”

Bill 4, also known as the Retail Business Operations Act, states that Manitoba businesses are open longer on Sundays and legal holidays. The law also allows municipalities to send files if they want to have some restrictions around shopping hours.

Manitoba last extended its shopping hours in 2012, opening start time was changed from noon to 9am