The new commercial activity law which the Balearic government plans to approve, despite central government in Madrid wanting to create a freer market in Spain, will make 24-hour shops either stay open around the clock seven days a week or force them to fall into line with new trading hours. According to Balearic Minister for Commerce, deputy chief minister Pere Sampol, the reason for the change in the law for 24 hour opening is apparently because most of the 24 hours shops are only open for 18 hours a day. The government wants the 24-hour shops to continue providing shopping facilities for the community when the rest of the shops are closed, but the government wants the shops to be either one thing or the other open 72 hours a week with a maximum of 12 hours per day, or round the clock.

The new law will also forbid the 24 hour shops from selling alcohol, stronger than 18/20 per cent between 10pm and 8pm and will rule that bread will have to be wrapped and labelled. Furthermore, 24 hours shops will not be allowed to cover a space of more than 250 square metres and will also have to provide greater selection of goods. The problem is that complying with the new law will be a costly affair for 24-hour shop owners. Not only will round-the-clock staff push operating costs up, but stocking a wider range of goods will also prove costly and perhaps, in most cases, not financially worth the worry.


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