Town asked to limit Sunday shopping hours

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Three years after the doors were thrown wide open on Sundays, Amherst is being asked to consider implementing a bylaw that limits shopping on what was traditionally a day of rest.
Responding to a letter from retail workers, Amherst mayor Rob Small said the town is going to consider its options.
"We can regulate the times the businesses operate on Sunday. That is the only part of the legislation that we have some flexibility," the mayor said.
"What we've asked for is for staff to review the legislation and take it into consideration as we debate it."
Speaking to council, letter co-author Brian Wood said retail workers are growing concerned that retailers are pushing the limit when it comes to hours of operation on Sundays.
"What concerns us is where does it stop. Eventually we feel it's going to go from 7 a.m., to 10 p.m., like every other day of the week. We feel that as retail workers we're already under a lot of pressure and that quality time we want to spend with our families on weekends will be compromised," Wood told members of council during its October session last night.
Wood and Paula Bacon sent a letter to the town urging it to bring in a bylaw restricting Sunday shopping from noon to 5 p.m., and suggested it regulate weekday closings at 9 p.m.
When the province lifted the ban on Sunday shopping a couple of years ago, most stores opened from noon to 6 p.m. However, some retailers have since extended hours from 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., and many stores are open Sundays from 10 a.m., to 8 p.m.
In the letter, Wood and fellow retail worker Bacon said retail workers don't expect Sunday shopping to disappear, they just want government at some level to stand up for the workers.
"We are not asking to ban Sunday shopping altogether, but we feel it has gotten out of hand," Wood and Bacon said in their letter.
"It would greatly benefit families, youth, retail workers, the environment and small businesses such as corner stores who can't compete with the big chain stores."
Wood said extended Sunday hours are making it difficult for families to attend Sunday church services and prevent parents from spending time with their children, and it's also bad for the environment in that extended hours means more power consumption and increasing the carbon footprint, as opposed to reducing it.
During a provincewide plebiscite in 2004, the majority of Nova Scotians voted against Sunday shopping, but the province relented two years later following a court challenge and stepped away from regulating shopping hours except on statutory holidays.

Geographic location: AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • What else is new
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Surprise Surprise people from amherst has to complain about something. I work shift work and I have to work Sundays but you dont see me complaing in the local news papers. maybe this town should just close everything down and let people do there shopping in Moncton since at least there open 7 days a week. I know myself and my family will never spend a cent in amherst because the people there are so rude it disgusts me. I have never seen such a town like this one.

  • guy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    If you want to work bankers hours, become a banker. Society is growing to become more of a 24/7 operation in most cities. As i am aware we are not a a big city, but its not unreasonable for us to have shopping on sundays. There is always going to be a group of voices that don't want their small town comfort zone to be invaded by growth. If the town were to implement local regulations, i'd expect a law suit from some busunesses in the near future. I don't really see sunday shopping being shut down here though.

  • AmherstGirl
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think the later shopping on Sundays is great.. I work shift work and sometimes that is the only time I can find time out of my work schedule and time with my children.

  • Neal
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The way i see it, hours of business should be contingent only on what the owner of that business decides is best for his/her business. However, there should be a provision made to allow for employees to have at least one day each weekend off. This would respect other religions whose Sabbaths are Friday/Saturday, and Seventh Day Adventists, Christians whose Sabbath is Saturday. many other Christian Churches hold services and masses on alternate days, for example, the RCC has Domenical mass on Saturday evenings.
    So long as employee rights of conscience are respected, governments should in no way restrict business hours of operation by either mandating being open or closed at specific times.

  • I Work Sundays
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I find people are not looking at the big picture here, if it were not for Sunday shopping, there would be less hours and shifts available for workers. If we were to restrict the hours on Sundays, the people, especially students, that have shifts on Sundays would have to work a weeknight, (After school). I don't see how that is convenient for anyone.

    Workers rights are supposedly protected by law saying that they can refuse to work Sundays, if so, this is a non-issue, just say no to working Sunday.

    If you restrict hours on Sundays, the likelihood of someone making a day trip to Amherst to shop is going to drop because there won't be time to go everywhere. If Amherst wants to put another damper on the economy, here is a great start.

  • Steve
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    It is hard enough to run a business and make a profit. The issues here have some merit, but government at all levels need to back-off and let business's do what they see fit to be profitable. Making laws or by-laws in this case make other communities and other ways of doing business (the Internet for example) more attractive place to spend our money.
    IMHO as always.

  • Get With It
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    People, Please! You want Sunday shopping, you don't want Sunday shopping, but what if,, but I'm not sure,,,Please!!!!
    Spend your money when you want, where you want, it's your choice. Don't agree or like Sunday shopping?,,,, well don't shop on Sundays! Easy!,,,, but remember, don't buy gas on Sunday, don't go to a restaurant on Sunday, don't buy lotto tickets on Sundays, don't attend a yard sale on Sunday, and whatever you do, I repeat, WHATEVER you do,,,, DO NOT BUY A LARGE DOUBLE DOUBLE AT TIMMY'S ON SUNDAY!!!!! These are all forms of shopping, and the places that sell these products have been open on Sundays FOREVER. Funny how quick we were to forget about all those workers that tend to those businesses on SUNDAYS!!! The Town of Amherst needs to stay out of this topic, again, and leave things alone.

  • Amherst
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    This will put the town behind the times ,we need growth not going backwards..Sunday shopping is such a convience....especially if you work shiftwork ...and not everyone goes to will also drive the consumers elsewhere Truro,Sackville also puts money into the pockets of the workers....Charlottetown has 12 noon to 6 or 8pm..while ona visit I found it very convient...the employees ..had the option to work or was a good chance for students to make alittle spending money...and the lots were full.....I am sure asolution can be met instead of going back to the dark ages...

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Speaking from the point of view of a family where both parents work full-time, Sunday shopping has made it much more convenient for us to be able to get what we need when we need it and allows us to coordinate family time better. However, neither of has to work on Sundays. I don't know if the rules have changed since the legislation was changed, but I was under the impression that all retail workers had the option to say they would or wouldn't work on Sunday without fear of repercussions. Has this changed?

  • Kim
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I work shift work - which means Saturday and Sunday most weeks. I have children who go to school and my evenings are crazy with driving them to hockey, etc. My husband gets the chore of taking them to these activities on the weekends as I am not available. However, I love my job and I love working on Sundays. I go to church (at 9am) and still have time to get home, change and head into work for noon. My employer is very flexible and while I am not spending my day with my family; I am making money so they can play their sports. Plus, working on the weekend gives me two days off during the week to pay bills and do running around - which would really be complicated if I didn't work Sundays - I wouldn't have enough time to do those chores (especially if the stores were closed on Sunday). So, we need to accept change, stop whining, and just get on with our lives. If you think possitive, anything is possible!

  • Davos
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    This is absurd. If you don't like the hours, don't take the job.

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    andal from ns writes: It is clear from reading the above comments that while the above posters enjoy Sunday shopping, they are not an employee who has to work on Sundays.

    Looking back over the posts, I'm the only one who said that I don't work on Sundays and as you can see more folks have posted who specifically work on Sundays and fully support Sunday shopping.

    It seem that most who speak out on Sunday shopping lead us to beleive that they actually have less time available to them having to work on Sunday, when they still work the same hours. This just means your day of rest has moved to a different day. Regardless of our schedules (working Mon-Fri 9-5 or shift work or whatever) we all need to juggle our priorities, our schedules and downtime/family time. We take it when we can get it. For those in the unfortunate situation of having a job that does not permit your desired work/life balance ... what is stopping you from doing what is necessary to find a more suitable job?

  • Another 2 Cents
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I hope that the Town knows their place here in this situation. That is to do nothing!

    That is the price we pay living in a competitive market. If businesses want to open then let them. Who am I or anyone else to tell someone how thay have to operate thier business.

    Surely common sense would prevail, and those with concerns would talk to their employers about it.

    If you don't want to work on a Sunday or any other day, talk to to your employer about it. Instead of going to the newspaper and Town with your concerns. Switch shifts, ask to work flextime.

    Those big businesses do alot for our community by providing many jobs, your jobs by the way. They can hire more part-time workers, or offer jobs to those willing to work to accomodate those who don't.

    This would be a step backwards.

  • sunday shopper
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Not sure what to think, when you take a job especially in the service industry you know that you will have to work some Sunday's. Their are many essential service people who do not get the choice. As far as Church I have not noticed a difference in the attendance at mine since Sunday shopping started - using the Church as an excuse is pretty lame. If you don;t like your job look for another one.
    Sorry to get so harsh but let us get real the business community has to compete with MOncton and if we cut out sunday shopping we will be a did city again.

  • amherstguy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    let's hope that the town doesn't interfer. Time to move with the times. I am sure that we don't want to go through this again. Most of us are tired of hearing this same old story over and over . If you don't want to work extented hours on Sunday find a new job. I have a great idea Brian and Paula. Fight to keep your stores closed on Monday when everyone is working and doesn't need the service.

  • jason
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I'm torn. I can appreciate the employees' position on not wanting to work on Sunday, or at least less, but I do like the convenience of being able to run out on a Sunday to pick up some things.

  • Mom
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The issue here is not Sunday shopping itself but the extended hours.
    I have 2 family members who often work Sundays. These 2 people also have a commitment for Sunday evenings.
    Everything was more or less fine when store hours were from noon-6pm (it was a bit of a rush to get someone home, have supper and be where we had to be for 7pm but we managed) but now that the store has increased its hours to 8pm it's become a nuisance.
    Granted, these 2 can ask not to work past 6pm or switch shifts with someone but what if everyone who worked in the store had a Sunday evening activity or commitment? What would they do then?
    The stores are getting greedier and greedier. It has to stop.

  • Tony
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The best and only solution is to ban Sunday shopping period. I can not understand why other people get to decide when retail workers get to chose there family day? Can we chose yours? I can remember a plebiscite in 2004 to which all Nova Scotians voted No! This in our view is a provincial issue and it should be banned province wide. Let retail workers have a vote on whether we want stores open or not on Sundays. When we can chose you're family day then you should have that right to chose ours. So a lot of you work Shift work. Shift workers that chose to work on Sunday. Secondly you have that option to go after government legislation closing your sector down on Sundays. Is there something wrong with being different? NO! Just because some of you work shift work it doesn't mean the rest of us should have to. We are all different ..everyone of us. Let the retail sector decide when our family day should be.
    To many people are brainwashed into thinking that we can not regulate store hours? I'd like to ask you why? We can tell a business how to spend there money but we can not tell them when to close. Hello? We have a minimum wage, Holiday pay, we regulate breaks and lunches. We regulate holiday store hours. So what is the difference in telling stores to close on Sunday? Not a thing wrong with it. We also have our environment to be concerned about. So many of you are out buying bags to save the environment then you turn around and shop on Sunday. Lights are on another day, more traffic is on our roads. As a society all we do is want , want , want. We never sit back any more and think about what it is doing to other people. Think about what we lost as a province. A unique quiet province. Sunday shopping has done nothing except fill the box stores with money. Greed goes a long way. Is it all about commercialism? It's time we think about our kids for today and tomorrow? Ban Sunday shopping and let's all move forward for a better Nova Scotia.

    Tony Lohnes
    Save Our Sundays

  • andal
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    It is clear from reading the above comments that while the above posters enjoy Sunday shopping, they are not an employee who has to work on Sundays. If you are a parent, Sundays are one of the few days you have to spend quality time with your children. If your child is working on Sunday as a student or if you are working on Sunday, it takes away from that valuable time. I too am a busy parent who has to find the time to shop for groceries etc. The next time you are out shopping on a Sunday with your family or are only out for a little while to pick up a few things, think of the hours of valuable time that the clerks who are waiting on you are losing with their loved ones.