If the GPA has its way, the grocery stores should close again at 7 p.m. This has been done in previous lockdowns. According to the union chairwoman Barbara Teiber, the main concern is the safety of trade employees. Especially female trade employees “don’t want to go home in the dark through deserted alleys,” Teiber justified the demand for shorter opening times.
The trade association is now vehemently against this demand: “It is very important to the Austrian grocery trade that all consumers can now shop in a lockdown as stress-free as possible, even after work. Because in practice it is not possible for a large part of the population to get groceries on working days before 7:00 p.m. In addition, maintaining the usual opening times facilitates the equalization of customer flows, which makes sense from an epidemiological point of view, ”emphasized managing director Rainer Will.
The GPA also argues that shorter opening times would ensure sufficient staff. This could prevent the need to step in at short notice. The demand for shorter opening times is therefore incomprehensible for the trade association, because “even if the shops close two hours earlier, it is already dark in the winter, regardless of whether it is at 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. In addition, Austria is and will remain a highly secure country even in the dark, so that there are no safety concerns even when the streets are empty, ”says Rainer Will.