Historically in the UK, Sunday was the day in the week for shops to put up closed signs and there were no formal barriers for shops to close until the 1930’s when controls were first formalised.
As a way to compromise to those who wanted to keep the status quo, and those who wanted to abolish all restrictions in 1994 the Sunday Trading Act came into force allowing larger outlets such as supermarkets and department stores to open for six-hours on a Sunday between 10am and 6pm.
Smaller businesses with a total display and service space of less than 280 sq meters have been exempt as have pharmacies, farms selling their own produce, airports, railway stations and motorway service stations.
Many attempts have been made in recent years to relax the rules further to make it easier for people to shop on a day they are not traditionally working.
The attempts, however, have been met with resistance from religious leaders, small business leaders who fear it would hand larger shops the advantage of gaining more sales, as well as the social impact to families of shop workers.
In a bid to stimulate the economy, it is reported the government is planning to suspend these laws for at least a year post Coronavirus crisis.
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