Most stores shut in Poland as Sunday trade ban beginsBy Vanessa Gera The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — A new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism’s collapse.
The change is stirring up a range of emotions in a country where many feel workers are exploited under the liberal regulations of the past years and want them to have a day of rest. But many Poles also experience consumer freedom as one of the most tangible benefits of the free market era and resent the new limit.
In Hungary, another ex-communist country, a ban on Sunday trade imposed in 2015 was so unpopular that authorities repealed it the next year. Elsewhere in Europe, however, including Germany and Austria, people have long been accustomed to the day of commercial rest and appreciate the push it gives them to escape the compulsion to shop for quality time with family and friends instead.
The law was proposed by a leading trade union, Solidarity, which says employees deserve Sundays off. It found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party, Law and Justice, whose lawmakers passed the legislation. The influential Catholic church, to which more than 90 percent of Poles belong, has welcomed the change.