Cyprus Mail

Shops defy Sunday opening ban, 350 booked by police islandwide

Big retailers and other shops opened on Sunday in defiance of the law relegating them to closing on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays, the CyBC reported.

Last week the government announced a return to the 2006 law as of Sunday January 3 until the Supreme Court rules on parliament’s last rejection in the ongoing dispute.

The shops that opened on Sunday could face a fine for violating the law but said earlier they were willing to take that chance. CyBC reported later on Sunday that 350 shops islandwide had been booked by police for violating the law but still refused to close even though police returned to check on them later in the day in some cases, the report said. The penalty for violating the law is up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 17,000 euros, or both.

Shoppers on Ledra Street in Nicosia told the TV station they were pleasantly surprised when they went down town and found most, if not all of the shops open. Many retailers had sent out text messages to customers advertising the fact they would be open on Sunday.

On New Year’s Eve, Attorney-general Costas Clerides submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court seeking a ruling that parliament’s decision dated December 10, 2015 which rejected Cabinet-approved regulations regarding shop opening hours, “violates the principle of separation of powers and is invalid.”

Although on December 3 the Supreme Court had found parliament’s legislation regulating shop hours unconstitutional, arguing the right to regulate the policy was solely the government’s, a week later, lawmakers put it back to a vote and rejected it again.

The legal service is requesting from the Supreme Court a ruling where the rejected Cabinet regulations continue to be valid and that they be enforced immediately.

The appeal will be put before the full bench of the Supreme Court on January 12.

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