Again and again, in kronach up to four times a year, the burghers ask themselves on sundays or holidays the question: business or church service? Shopping or resting? In kulmbach there have been discussions about this only at the beginning of the year. The area within which shops are allowed to open on open sundays has been restricted to the immediate vicinity of the spring market.
"Why is this not the case in kronach?", asks an anonymous writer in an e-mail to the editor. After all, in kronach, many stores located outside the city center were open without any problems.
Dieter krapp, head of kronach’s public order office, reports that municipalities or communities can decide for themselves whether to extend open sales days to businesses outside of markets. "That is a matter for the city council", says krapp. Because: a uniform practice has not yet been established in bavaria.
Verdi sits at the longer lever
But that does not suit everyone. For a long time, verdi has been demanding that the scope of such open sundays be limited to the immediate area surrounding the event. If the union deems it necessary, it can file a complaint with the relevant supervisory authority. If it is approved, then the city’s hands are tied. The area of the sundays open for sale must be reduced.
In kronach, the trade union verdi sees no reason to change anything about the extended open sundays, reports head of the public order department krapp. "This was agreed with verdi at the time", says krapp. But open sundays are not obligatory for the shops: "it is a can-determination. The shops do not have to open", declares krapp.
The trade union verdi is not happy about the open sunday holiday. "The day of german unification is still worth celebrating", says peter konig, departmental secretary for the trade at verdi. As a matter of principle, according to konig, associations and unions had to be consulted for sunday openings. This is not always the case for public holidays, he says, because the procedure is different. "The protection of sundays is more important in the constitution than the protection of holidays", says konig.
Dietrich denzner, chairman of the kronach sales association, which organizes the open sundays, explains the importance of open sundays for the business community. "What crowds are moved on such days in kronach. It’s absolutely unimaginable what’s going on there", says denzner.
Even if the shops outside the city center are not members of the action group, denzner says with regard to the open sundays: "it is important that they are part of it, because they advertise and attract customers." As the chairman of the action group, he would naturally like these businesses to become members of the association.
Not always open
Not all shops outside the city center of kronach are open on all open sundays. Hagebaumarkt, for example, is usually only open on two or three open sundays a year, explains managing director erich bienlein-karst. "We decide every year whether we open or not", says bienlein-karst. This is agreed upon together with the other businesses in the industrial area. Finally, if already open, should come as many visitors as possible.
He does not understand the radical attitude of the trade unions to open sundays: "I am not enthusiastic about the idea. However, I do not think it is right to regulate it", says bienlein-karst.
Every week there is no need for such an open sunday, the businessman thinks. Above all, because the personnel work already monday to saturday. Employees can volunteer for the open sales days, which means they get a compensatory day off.
Sundays open for business in bavaria
2006 sunday opening becomes a state matter. In bavaria four open sundays are allowed per year. The exception is the month of december with the advent sundays.
2009 according to a ruling by the federal constitutional court, stores may only open on sundays if there is a special occasion, such as a festival, an event or a market. In the city of kronach, these are the spring market, the historical city spectacle (every two years), the city festival and the three lander festival.
2015 at the end of 2015, the federal administrative court went further. Since then, municipalities have had to prove that the event they are organizing attracts more visitors than the businesses open on that day. And: only stores in the immediate vicinity of the event were allowed to open. This means only inner-city businesses, peripheral construction sites or mobile homes are left out.
In the meantime, there is an "alliance for the free sunday", to which catholic and protestant churches have joined forces with the german trade union federation (DGB) and verdi.
Source: bavarian state ministry for family, labor and social affairs; suddeutsche zeitung fr
Commentary by franziska rieger
A chance, not a monster
The monster of online retailing is eating its way through the shopping centers of cities, leaving empty storefronts in its wake. Small businesses are forgotten. Open sundays should therefore be seen as an opportunity for the retail trade. The shops can show: we are still there too. This is not a panacea and, from a personnel point of view alone, not possible every sunday of the year. But it is necessary: otherwise there will be more and more shops that will not open not only on sundays, but also on the other days of the week.
Commentary by marco meibner
Often only an end in itself
An open sunday for a special event, that makes sense. An accompanying offer that benefits both sides. But too often these days, open sundays are an end in themselves, at best enhanced by an artistic supporting program. Whether this is goal-oriented in a working world that demands more and more of people? Where is the weekend with the family and the time to take a breath? Open sundays need not be demonized – but they should be used with caution!