Government to impose flexible opening hours on 14 cities
PP administration loosens store trading hours in tourist hotspots such as Barcelona and Seville
Under plans unveiled on Monday by the secretary of state for trade, Jaime García-Legaz, it will increase from eight to 10 the minimum number of public holidays and Sundays on which regions must allow all shops to open.
It is also set to oblige 14 cities to designate certain tourist-heavy areas where more flexible opening hours for stores are guaranteed. Barcelona, Seville and Bilbao, for example, will all be forced to fix areas within their city limits where stores can open 365 days a year.
García-Legaz did not want to reveal how he thought the changes would be applied — “it could be by a decree-law, but it has not been decided” — but noted “the majority of regions” had greeted it as positive news. He did not specify which regions were not in favor of the law, but in principle the move does not fit in with the Catalan government, which had expressed its reluctance to amend commercial regulations.
Barcelona will be one of the cities forced to provide an area with liberal opening hours, along with Alicante, Valencia, Zaragoza, Málaga, Seville, Las Palmas, Bilbao, Córdoba, Granada, Cartagena, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Other municipalities will also be able to apply to become tourist areas and have longer opening hours, García-Legaz reminded.