Shops told to close on 12 November

Entrance to shopping mall "Kaskada" in Szczecin. Place like this one are advised to stay closed on Nov. 12. Photo: PAP/Jerzy Undro

Shops are recommended to close on the holiday Monday following Polish Independence Day, granted only yesterday, despite the legal questions arising from the quickly-written legislation.

National holidays in Poland are not moveable feasts. Bearing in mind the fact that 11 November, the centennial of Poland’s independence falls on a Sunday, the government has hurried through an extra day off on the 12 November.

For the retail sector, which is still adjusting to Sunday trading restrictions introduced in March this year, the additional requirement to close on Monday, and at such short notice, was not a welcome move.

The Shopping Centre Association obtained legal advice that the legislation was shaky on certain points and would therefore be difficult to defend in a court of law.

However, yesterday the Polish Labour Inspectorate ruled that in its interpretation, shops would have to close, to the extent they are obliged to on non-trading Sundays. This means that small shops operated by their owners can open, as well as flower shops, bakeries and the like, petrol station shops and outlets within railway stations or airports. Large shops would however have to close.

The Sunday legislation has led to 6 million less footfall in the shopping centres, according to their association. However service points like hairdressers, ice-cream shops and cinemas and restaurants can remain open. This will be true on Monday as well.

The Polish Organisation of Trade and Distribution (POHiD), which represents large shops, has said the Monday trading ban will cause disruption to their supply chain, which is already hampered by closing on Sundays.