Manitoba ends restrictions on Sunday and holiday shopping hours

The Manitoba Government is eliminating Sunday Shopping hours starting Dec. 12, 2020. Getty Images

The Manitoba government says it is immediately ending restrictions on Sunday and holiday shopping hours in the province.

Finance minister Scott Fielding made the announcement early Thursday in a press release.

“Given the current public health restrictions in place to protect Manitobans, we want to provide flexibility to businesses and customers and allow more opportunity for curbside pickup and delivery options as well as longer in-person shopping hours to minimize crowds,” said Fielding in a statement.

Read more: Independent grocer faces $10,000 fine for opening Winnipeg store on Good Friday

“During this critical time for retailers across the province, we believe these updated laws will help many businesses with additional revenues as we head into the holiday season.”

Bill 4, called the Retail Business Hours of Operation Act, was already in progress, but local retail groups urged the province to expedite the bill, Fielding said.

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The Bill eliminates retail shopping hour restrictions on Sundays and holidays so businesses no longer have to close at 6 p.m.

However, local municipalities can still make the choice to keep the hours restricted if they choose.

Mayor Brian Bowman told 680CJOB Thursday morning he will review the province’s release and that the city hasn’t had any outreach from the province on the issue yet.

But I can say … I’ve long been in favour of providing as much flexibility for the job creators in our community to make decisions that make sense for their respective industry, for their staff and for their customers.”

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Bowman said the city will have more to say on the issue shortly.

Read more: Independent Winnipeg grocer again defies law to open stores on Labour Day

Retail restrictions will be maintained on Remembrance Day, Fielding added.

Retailers have been asking the province for years to change the restrictions, and the movement sparked in April 2019 when a local grocery store was fined $10,000 by the City of Winnipeg for being open on Good Friday.

FoodFare owner Munther Zeid argued his shop should not have to be closed to observe a religious holiday that he himself does not observe.

He also argued food stores should be allowed to open if casinos and marijuana stores were allowed to be open.

The ticket was eventually cancelled.

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