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Vienna businesses vote for Sunday shopping

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Photo: APA
12:13 CET+01:00
Viennese business owners have voted in favour of creating special ‘tourist zones' in the city that allow Sunday opening hours for shops.

72.6 percent voted yes to Sunday shopping in a survey carried out by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (WKO).

Whether Sunday opening hours will become a reality now depends on the success of talks between the city council and the social partners.

Walter Ruck, President of the WKO, said members had voted resoundingly for “more entrepreneurial freedom and self-determination. It’s now up to political leaders to implement the necessary measures and changes rapidly."

He added that Sunday opening hours would bring 800 additional jobs and additional revenue of at least €140 million.

"Eight provinces have benefited for years from tourism zones. It is impossible to understand why this hasn’t been possible to introduce in Vienna - the state with the strongest growth in the tourism sector," Ruck said.

80.9 percent of business owners also voted in favour of year-round opening of outdoor catering areas - which includes outdoor seating areas for cafes, restaurants and bars - known in Vienna as Schanigärten. Currently these are only open between early March and late November.

60.1 percent also voted for a reduction in the amount of health insurance contributions that employers have to make on behalf of their staff.

At present the only shops that are open in Vienna on Sundays and public holidays are supermarkets at large railway stations and the airport, and museum shops.

Some Turkish and Jewish bakeries also have special licenses and exceptions are made for 24-hour bakeries and delicatessens.

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