Desperate kiosk owners demand the intervention of President Anastasiades to put a stop to longer shop opening hours that they say has forced 70 businesses to close down.
“The fears and concerns that we expressed that liberalising shop opening hours would force many small and medium businesses to destruction have proven true,” kiosk association president Andreas Theodoulou said yesterday.
“Only in our sector that includes kiosks and stores of convenience around 70 businesses were forced to close in the last two months making around 200 employees jobless,” he added.
The Cyprus Association of Convenience Stores argued that the 460 jobs that were created for the unemployed by the measure are in fact part-time jobs.
“The government decision to turn Cyprus into a tourist zone overnight without studying the consequences has blown healthy competition and the law regulating the retail market up in the air,” Theodoulou said.
He fears that other small and medium retail sector businesses will face hardships as a result of the longer shop opening hours and doing business on Sundays.
“The benefit of creating jobs is minimal while losses are huge. Consumption continues to drop and the measure has succeeded in taking business away from small players and giving it to four or five major retailers,” he added.
He called for immediate moves as hundreds of small and medium businesses are on the verge of collapse.
“We call on the President to intervene and correct this injustice. If the President believes what his Ministers have often said, that small and medium businesses are the backbone of the economy now is the time to prove it.”
The general secretary of the Cyprus Federation of Professional Craftsmen and Shopkeepers (Povek) Stefanos Koursaris told The Cyprus Daily:
“More than 30% of small and medium retailers have closed and the trend continues. The measure has not been productive and it has not been implemented by all businesses”.
“We are at the Supreme Court to secure an order stopping the longer shop opening hours while additional measures will be discussed against it on Monday.”
A decree issued in July states that all shops can stay open from 5am until 10pm, Monday to Saturday and from 9am until 9pm on Sundays.
The measure is voluntary and for established designated tourist areas it applies until the end of November while for other areas until October 13.