More businesses to open Sunday

| 25/05/2015 | 10 Comments

(CNS Business): The age old debate on Sunday trading has officially been decided and establishments such as tourist-related shops, gas stations and retail businesses that sell food and beverages that are less than 4,000 square feet will be exempted from the ban. Government has revised the Sunday Trading Law by adding more types of businesses to the list of exempted activities but rejected the idea of turning it into a regular day of trade. There are now 14 categories of businesses that can now legally operate on Sunday (listed below).

Government officials said they decided to amend the law following a public consultation from 1 August to 30 September last year. Local residents, trade associations and religious organisations were asked for their input on liberalising or relaxing the previous Sunday Trading Law and the report found that most people wanted to see changes to the law. What the law does is essentially give more choice to vendors and consumers.

The consultation document received by concerned citizens outlined seven common arguments in favour of liberalisation and seven common arguments against it. Of the total responses received, 294 were submitted via the ministry’s online survey; 24 were written submissions to the ministry; and two petitions against liberalising Sunday trading were received, one with 68 signatures and the other with 76 signatures. The online poll showed 60% believed that government should allow more businesses to operate on Sunday while 40% said no. Roughly 63% said yes when asked if more businesses are allowed to legally operate on Sundays, should their hours be restricted, while 37% were against it. However, there was an even split when asked if all businesses be allowed to open on Sundays.

“We listened to the views of the general public and all key stakeholders and developed appropriate legislation for Sunday Trading. Ultimately, the law is about boosting commerce and maintaining our place as a top global choice for all types of businesses,” stated Commerce Minister Wayne Panton.

CNS Business

Shops open in George Town, Grand Cayman

Data from the consultation showed that one of the primary reason given in support of allowing Sunday trading was convenience. Officials said this recognised that those who work six days a week may need Sunday to shop for things like grocery items. Respondents in favour of liberalising Sunday trading said those who do not wish to engage in trade on Sundays are free to do so, but this should not affect those who do wish to make purchases on Sundays.

Additionally, some respondents said the increase in operational costs for the additional day would outweigh any potential increase in revenue. Some business owners said they would feel pressured to open if their competitors decided to open on Sundays. Employee protection was another significant concern raised, as it was felt that workers would be exploited and not given a choice to work on Sundays. Concerns were also expressed about discriminatory recruitment practices, and workers not being paid time-and-a-half for work on Sunday.

Business owners told CNS Business that many establishments were already operating on Sunday illegally. Government leaders explained they have decided to legitimise the day of trade for particular businesses so that retailers currently operating in violation of the law will be made legal.

In the Cayman Islands, the liberalisation of our Sunday trading regime has been debated for almost a decade and the Chamber of Commerce conducted two surveys of its membership in 2005 and 2013. Sunday trading in the Cayman Islands was governed by the Sunday Trading Law (2003 Revision), which determines which businesses may open on a “prohibited day” such as Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day. The new Sunday Trading Law (2015) was put into action by cabinet members on 15 May.

Commerce Minister Panton said the legislation seeks to stimulate the local economy by offering more opportunities for business.

“This order is in line with other government measures to encourage, support and positively impact economic activity,” he said. “A number of considerations were taken into account, including the competitiveness of local retailers; consumer flexibility and choice; religious beliefs; and family life in the Cayman Islands,” he explained.

14 Exceptions to the law: 

  1. Businesses involved in the provision of goods and services primarily to tourists, including establishments selling souvenirs and duty-free items, tourist accommodations, watersports operators, golf courses and businesses involved in sightseeing activities.
  2. Druggist shops and dispensaries.
  3. Restaurants.
  4. Retail businesses involved primarily in the sale of food items and beverages, where such an establishment is less than 4,000 square feet.
  5. Hairdressing and beauty salons.
  6. Airline and shipping offices.
  7. Establishments for the sale of motor fuel or oils, in relation to the sale of those items.
  8. Motor vehicle repair shops or service stations, in relation to the sale of those items and of spare parts for motor vehicles.
  9. Establishments governed by any Law for the time being in force in the Islands regulating the sale of intoxicating liquor, in relation to the sale of intoxicating liquor.
  10. Establishments engaged in the sale or supply of funeral caskets or flowers, in relation to the sale or supply of those items.
  11. Establishments for the sale of victuals, stores or other necessaries required for a ship or aircraft on arrival at or immediately before departure from a port or airport in the Islands, in relation to the sale of those items.
  12. Establishments concerned in the rental of motorcars, motor-cycles or bicycles, or in the rental or charter of boats, in relation to such rentals or charters.
  13. Establishments concerned in the provision of such essential services as may be prescribed by the Cabinet by Order.
  14. Establishments engaged in the conduct of public cinematographic exhibitions, in relation to the exhibition, on Sundays between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and midnight.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why would buying a book on a Sunday offend the Baby Jesus?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ladies and Gents the simple answer is that basically ALL of the large supermarkets and the hardware stores made representations to CIG during the consultation process that they DID NOT want to open on Sundays. Don’t get silly with conclusions beyond that simple fact.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Really? Why can’t the supermarkets and larger stores open too? At least make it at their own discretion. They probably pay more in fees to the government, but everyone apart from them are allowed to open. This is very unfair towards these business owners. Stop pussy footing around, either do it or leave it, don’t just half do it. Man up and stop trying to please everyone.

  4. Anonymous says:

    For the civil servants, bankers, lawyers, teachers, etc. that don’t have to work on the weekends, they want the businesses to open for their own convenience. How would they react if their bosses told them they now have to work on Sunday’s?
    There are thousands of people who work in the retail industry, and make no mistake, implementing Sunday trading would have an enormous affect on the country’s way of life.
    This is one that I think the PPM got right!

  5. Anonymous says:

    But what if I need a claw hammer and a bag of 6d nails to close my casket? Wha I spose ta do??!

  6. Anonymous says:

    If I am Seventh Day, or if I am Jewish, then Saturday is my sabbath. Lets close all businesses over 4000 sq ft on Saturday. Unfair, stupid, biased? Yes, and so is this new law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why only businesses under 4000 square feet? Hmmm…one can only surmise that someone does not want Fosters, ALT and the like to be able to compete.

  8. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    Why were grocery stores not on this list of exemptions?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why not all supermarkets? Where in the scripture does the Lord put a sq footage limit of 4000 or less? So arbitrary it is conspicuous, and begs the question: which of the MLAs own a mini-mart?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Really?? Why shouldn’t the supermarkets and larger stores be allowed to open. That is very unfair towards them. They probably pay more in fees and duties to the government and are not allowed to open. It can be at their own discretion, but they should at least have the same option as the other businesses. Stop pussy footing around the issue and get it done.

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