Three Swiss cantons call for legalising Sunday shopping
Cantonal representatives from Zurich, Lucerne and Ticino have called for Sunday shopping to be legalised in certain areas, in order to support businesses impacted by COVID-19. City officials hope the change will provide a boost to tourism in Swiss cities, which have seen visitor numbers drop during the pandemic.
Sunday shopping remains rare in Switzerland
Currently, Sunday shopping is allowed in “tourism zones” in Switzerland - typically found in the mountains, at railway stations and in airports. The system does mean most workers in Switzerland are guaranteed a day off, but representatives believe this is having a negative impact on tourism in big cities.
“In St. Moritz, you can buy your ski equipment on Sundays. But if you forgot your swimming trunks in Zurich, you are faced with closed doors," said the Economic Minister for Canton Zurich, Carmen Walker Späh. Together with representatives from Ticino and Lucerne, she called on the government to allow more tourism zones in Swiss cities in order to attract more tourists.
Swiss cities could reap the benefits of Sunday shopping
Guglielmo Brentel, President of Zurich Tourism, said that Sunday shopping is extremely important for quality tourism for families and individuals. Cities like Geneva and Zurich have seen a significant drop in business tourism during the pandemic, which they hope to recover by focusing on leisure activities and culture.
Together with business leaders, the cantonal governments have called on the Federal Council to allow Sunday shopping in more areas, which Walker Späh called a “booster for tourism.” She hoped the federal government would level the playing field for all cantons, not just allowing Sunday shopping in ski resorts.
Cantons throughout Switzerland are now in discussions with their residents as to whether Sunday shopping is right for them. It is not unlikely that a local, cantonal or national referendum on the subject may come up in the coming years.