Cyprus Mail

Shop opening dispute will affect tourism, mayor warns

Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos

Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos on Monday appealed to the state to resolve the shop opening hour dispute ahead of what is expected to be the best tourist season in years.
“More than three million tourists are expected to visit our island this season and already in Ayia Napa hotels have been opened since mid-March for the first arrivals,” Karousos said. “But there are very serious problems, which if not resolved, tourists will not return again,” he told the Cyprus News Agency.
Karousos said it was a joke that in 2016 shops were closed in tourist areas on Sundays and national holidays, especially at a time when Cyprus expects record arrivals, simply because the executive and the legislature could not agree.
“How will we convince these tourists to visit our island again when shops are closed on days when these people want to do their shopping?”
Ongoing geopolitical developments in the Middle East have forced tourists to opt for Cyprus as a destination as countries like Egypt and Turkey are out of the question, Karousos said.
“This is a chance for Cyprus to convince the millions of tourists to visit us again.”
A solution needs to be found before parliament dissolves on April 22, he said.
“At the very least, a solution for shop hours in tourist areas,” Karousos said.
Following months of legal wrangling between the government and parliament over shop hours, there are effectively no regulations governing shop hours.
With the two sides failing to agree, the issue was regulated by an old law from 2006, which did not allow shops to work on Sundays. The 2006 law came into force on January 1, 2016.
But the Nicosia district court ruled recently that the law was unconstitutional during examination of a case concerning CA Papaellinas Ltd, the company that owns Alfamega supermarkets, which had been fined for staying open on a Sunday.

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