Chamber calls for Sunday shopping

Draft position paper sent to members for approval

Rogue traders opening on Sundays are putting businesses that play by the rules at a disadvantage, the Chamber of Commerce has said in a draft position paper calling for a relaxation of laws outlawing Sunday shopping. 

The Chamber points out that many small businesses open on Sundays anyway, without consequences, and calls for the law to be changed to level the playing field. 

It recommends that all businesses be allowed to open for a maximum of five hours on a Sunday in a move that it says would create jobs and lower prices for consumers. 

Members of the business lobby group have been given until April 17 to confirm if they support or oppose a draft paper being circulated by Chamber leadership. 

The paper states that Sunday shopping could be introduced without impacting Cayman’s Christian traditions. 

It recommends that changes to employment legislation are also brought through to ensure Caymanians who do not want to work on a Sunday are not discriminated against in the job market. 

“The Chamber of Commerce believes that Sunday trading laws should be amended to provide better choice and lower prices to consumers, additional economic opportunities to businesses, and additional employment,” the draft paper states. “We firmly believe that our proposed policy change would not pose any negative harm to our society or traditions.” 

The Sunday Trading Law, 2003 revision, currently allows various businesses including bars, restaurants, gas stations and hair salons to open on Sundays.  

In practice, the Chamber of Commerce says, many other businesses also open without “effective enforcement.” 

Relaxing Sunday trading regulations, an issue that arises every few years and has been discussed numerous times, appears now to have relatively broad support in the business community. Prentice Panton, who runs several stores, including Food4Less, Liquor4Less and Reflections clothing store, said he had reversed his previous opposition to the concept. 

He said, “There are businesses currently opening on Sunday in breach of the law and that is putting us at a competitive disadvantage. Some of the smaller convenience stores are doing phenomenal business on a Sunday.” 

Woody Foster, of Foster’s Food Fair IGA, said the supermarket chain would open on Sundays if and when the laws were changed. 

He said there would be additional costs involved, but they would likely be outweighed by the benefits. 

The Chamber states, in its draft paper, that the current legislation also prevents employees from making extra money on a Sundays. 

Changing the law would allow existing employees to supplement their income with overtime and create new full- and part-time jobs. 

The paper acknowledges a threat to the Christian tradition of observing Sunday as a “day of rest,” as well as a potential negative impact on families’ “way of life.” 

But it suggests that limiting the number of hours and giving employees the option to opt out of Sunday work would deal with those issues. 

It points out that the current situation is unfair to consumers. “The price differential between purchasing goods on a Sunday compared to another day can be considerable. The cost of purchasing every day consumer goods at the gas stations is the most widely known example of this,” the draft paper states.  

8 COMMENTS

  1. Whilst we at it too, let’s have the banks open 7 days a week and why not government too?Then let’s bring strip clubs on west bay road. This too shall bring wealth and jobs.

    I don’t understand why people want to make cayman like everywhere else in the world. Cayman has some uniqueness that attract people to these shores. Let us not try and change that and in the process lose our identity.

  2. Think carefully Cayman.
    If this happens there will be no way back. I believe here in the UK, our way of life has suffered since Sunday trading was introduced.
    You would do better to tackle those who are currently breaking/ignoring the law than change it for all.

  3. I must agree that business owners should have the option of opening on Sunday if they choose. I can understand places like Bars or Liquor stores being closed but regular stores like grocery stores, I don’t see how this can effect anyone’s spiritual well being. If you want to stay home and rest, the stores being open will not stop you from doing that to each his own. A lot of stay over tourists arrive in Cayman on Saturdays and Sundays and not being able to get the necessities on Sunday is a serious inconvenience.

  4. Let me get this straight – because some people are currently breaking the law, instead of enforcing the law, we are going change it instead. Well, that is great moral leadership example for society.
    It would be better to enforce the law and make people plan ahead instead of forcing everyone to work 7 days a week because market forces will drive all the small shops out of business or make them work every day.
    If you cannot purchase your shopping between 7am and 11pm six days a week then your time management skills are terrible and in my opinion that is no excuse to open 7 days a week.
    Additionally, it will require more work permits because who is going what to work the extra shift plus see the traditional mom and pop business go under due to the extra cost for little business return.
    Is that really worth it? Or get better with your planning and enforce the law.

  5. I agree with Sam Small, enforce the current law and if necessary change it. i’ve been coming to the islands for 25 years and i’d love to have some options for shopping on Sunday. i agree that business owners can opt in or out, but it is their choice. Economics can dictate decisions, but ultimately it is a ‘decision’ to be made at the individual’s discretion.

  6. The point here is all about choice, Sam’s comment trys to make it seem like relaxing this law will force people to open or work on Sundays or force people to shop on Sundays when it will actually just give people the choice to do so. Unlike the description of having poor time management, a lot of people have very tight busy schedules during the week and would appreciate the choice or option of going grocery shopping on Sunday’s. It also gives businesses the choice or option of opening on Sunday, which leads to more revenue for the business owner and for those who chose to work on Sundays more pay.

    From what Sam describes below it sound like he doesn’t feel people should have the choice just because he doesn’t want to go out on Sunday.

    One other thing, uniqueness that attract people to these shores as Hugh stated has been gone for a long time now. Cayman is unique but it’s not one of a kind.. There is nothing in Cayman that can’t found in other tourist locations and plenty have way more to offer tourists.

    This holier that thou and we’re better then the rest attitude has damaged Cayman severely by making people think Cayman does not have to compete with other destinations.

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