MAINZ » supermarkets and other shops for daily needs are no longer allowed to open in Rhineland-Palatinate on Sundays and public holidays. Because of the Corona crisis, the country, like other federal states, had allowed exceptions in recent weeks to better distribute the rush in the shops and to ensure security of supply. However, health minister Sabine Batzing-Lichtenthaler (SPD) said on Monday afternoon that hardly any business had made use of it. The country will therefore change the Corona control ordinance accordingly on Tuesday. A possible opening of shops on Easter holidays is also off the table.
Overall, the population has reacted very carefully to the current restrictions on shopping, the minister said. So far there have been no “noteworthy problem reports”. The supply has settled in and is assured: “My thanks go to the many employees in the supermarkets and shops who are there for people in these difficult times,” she said. It is important that the employees also need a balance from work and that they can spend time at home and with their families.
The large chains had also given up
Whether the shops are allowed to open on Sundays and especially on the upcoming Easter holidays has been the subject of nationwide discussions for days. Background: In order to guarantee the security of supply on the one hand and to distribute the rush in the shops on the other – and thus to increase the protection against infection – according to a basic agreement between the federal and state governments, important shops such as grocers or drugstores are currently allowed to open on Sundays and public holidays. Whether they actually do it is up to the stores. So far, very few have done so; especially since the large chains such as Rewe, Edeka, Aldi, Lidl, and Co., together with their subsidiaries, had announced that they would not do this in order to give their employees a break.
But that does not mean that all other shops stick to it in the long run – the question now is: how do the shopkeepers keep it at Easter? While Hesse explicitly excluded the opening on Good Friday and Easter holidays from the outset in the corresponding state ordinance, this was previously permitted in Rhineland-Palatinate according to the Third Corona Control Ordinance. From 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. for retail businesses for food, beverage stores, drugstores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, banks and savings banks, post offices, newspaper and magazine sales, construction, horticultural and pet stores as well as wholesale. It is now over, this Tuesday the regulation is to be changed, opening on Sundays and public holidays is then no longer permitted in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Violent criticism from churches and unions
In Baden-Wurttemberg, supermarkets were also initially allowed to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But: After severe criticism from churches and unions, the state government has now rowed back there. The shops must remain closed on both days, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Friday in Stuttgart. The major Christian churches and the unions had protested sharply and called for the opening to be withdrawn.
Critics in Rhineland-Palatinate are pleased that the state is now also going this way. Monika Di Silvestre, head of the retail department at the Verdi district of Rhineland-Palatinate / Saarland, had previously requested “a clear legal regulation”. “Our colleagues are already in a state of emergency anyway,” she says of the current burden, not to mention the risk of infection.
Criticism of the opening on Easter holidays had also been heard in the diocese of Mainz. “Employees in the food trade also have the right to a family and recovery time on these days,” said Hans-Georg Orthlauf-Blooss from the regional office for employee and company pastoral care in Rheinhessen in the diocese. The permission to open the shop was a wrong signal – at a time when the population was asked to keep social contacts to a minimum, to refrain from Easter trips and family visits and to stay at home, and in which religious communities were prohibited from any public liturgy. “It is to be welcomed that the industry itself has hardly made use of the existing opportunities.
The Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) also very much welcome the fact that the public holidays will continue to be respected, as the constitution basically provides, said spokesman Volker Rahn. And: “It is particularly important for sales staff these days to have phases of recovery.”
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