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Should Store Opening Hours be Liberalized?

Germany's high court recently rejected a case that would have loosened the country's store opening hours law dating from 1956. Most stores must remain closed on Sundays and holidays. DW-WORLD readers commented.

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Shop 'til you drop? Germany's not sure

Stores should not be allowed to open indefinitely; there should be a limit to hours of work, Saturday should be kept as half day; holiday rates should be paid, and if workers work for more than 8 hours, extra wages should be paid to them. On holidays, if possible, shops and stores should be closed. Government should take very strict actions. -- Jackie Khilnani, India

The idea is freedom of choice. I am not a lawyer and not an expert in laws, but I think that laws should reflect wishes of a society. Laws should not remain unchanged forever and should be reviewed after a period of time or at a demand of the people. This law that bans shops open on Sundays or after 8pm, is anachronistic. -- Jorge Anicama, Lima, Peru

Many stores in the U.S. used to be closed on Sundays. Here we have lots of people whose religion celebrates on Saturday, or Friday, or everyday, not just once a week. Saying stores should be closed on Sundays makes the assumption that everyone is a Christian. There are few Jews in Germany now, but there are probably many Muslim people, and maybe some pagans and non-believers. They should have rights, too. -- Walter Wilson, USA

My local Safeway supermarket is open 24 hours every day, and the university town in which I live (Davis, California) has a population of only about 50,000. Ausgezeichnet! -- David Govett, USA

I think that opening hours should be liberalized, but with limits. It is a complex issue. We in Boston have, for the first time, been able to buy liquor on Sundays. Part of me welcomes the change and feels that it is a hassle not to be able to buy beer on a Sunday. Part me feels that people working in liquor stores or shops should get the day off, particularly because their pay is low. It should be up to the community to decide, perhaps, rather than the national government. -- David Smagalla

As far as the laws go, actually having the stores open more would be a good thing. It wouldn't necessarily overwork people, but it might actually create jobs for those who aren't so strict about working on Sundays due to religious or familial reasons, or those who just simply need the extra money. Both the stores, and the people, should make the choice whether to be open/shop on Sundays, or for a longer time at night, not the lawmakers. Everyone benefits in the end. The stores and employees make money, the government makes more revenue through taxes, and the customers walk away with a smile on their face and their merchandise in hand. -- Darnell Law, USA

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