A DECREE allowing shops outside tourist areas to remain open later on weekdays and also on Sundays has been amended to define which shops may sell what products.
The decree, which has created controversy over accusations it favours big retailers, will be renewed on Monday and will be valid until November 30. In December, the law already allows shops to stay open between 8am and 8pm, on almost all days.
Until then, most shops may choose to remain open between 5am and 11pm between Monday and Saturday, and between 9am and 11pm on Sunday.
But kiosks will get exclusive rights to selling newspapers, magazines and tobacco products on Sundays while bakeries will be able to exclusively sell on Sunday all bakery items, such as pastries and bread rolls, with the exception of sliced toasts.
Kiosks will also be able to sell throughout the week canned food (they were only allowed to sell canned pet food until now), and also stock cleaning products up to a certain size.
The labour ministry’s rationale is that the changes will help smaller businesses with competition from the bigger fish, although it was not immediately clear how the measure would be monitored and enforced.
Introduced in July, the measure aims to boost employment and accommodate consumers’ needs. Shops must cover at least half of the extra opening hours by hiring registered unemployed whose wage will be covered by the ministry for eight months by 65 per cent. Emilianidou said as of September 1,660 people, mostly Cypriots, had been hired as part of the scheme.