Easter Sunday trading

by Ann van Engelen

The government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. 

It provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause.

“Supermarkets will be able to open on Easter Sunday during our Covid-19 lockdown in order to ensure we are able to buy essential food, drink and household goods. The government recognises that communities are concerned about getting essential items, and there are few alternatives to supermarkets at this time,” says Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway. 

“It is also important that workers are able to take a break during this busy period after doing an incredible job during such difficult times, so supermarkets will stay closed on Good Friday.

“Given most supermarkets are normally closed on Easter Sunday, it is important that employees know they still have the right to refuse to work that day. I am sure that employers will act fairly to those who don’t want to work and want a well-earned break.

“I encourage everyone to consider the strain on supermarkets at present and to only shop for what you need as usual, and keep using the distancing rule when shopping.”

The government has asked the Labour Inspectorate not to penalise supermarkets that remain open but will still assist workers who have been coerced into working on Easter Sunday as usual.

“Supermarkets, unions and community agencies were consulted before a decision was made on opening over Easter. There is a range of views on this issue, and we also acknowledge the religious significance of Easter Sunday for many people.“

Staying open on Easter Sunday is permissible under the existing provisions of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 and does not require a law change.