WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government announced on Thursday, Dec. 10 that it has expedited the proclamation of legislation that will allow retail businesses to remain open later on Sundays and holidays.
Finance Minister Scott Fielding made the announcement in a news release, saying this new legislation comes into effect beginning on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Fielding added that under the current public health restrictions, the province wants to provide businesses flexibility to allow for more curbside pickup and delivery options, as well as more time for in-person shopping in order to minimize crowds.
“During this critical time for retailers across the province, we believe these updated laws will help many businesses with additional revenues as we head into the holiday season,” he said.
Beginning this weekend, under Bill 4 – The Retail Business Hours of Operation Act (Various Acts Amended or Repealed), retail shopping hour restrictions are eliminated and businesses will no longer have to close at 6 p.m. on Sundays and certain holidays. However, municipalities still have the authority to pass bylaws if they choose to keep some restrictions in place.
Fielding added the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce recommended the province expedite the passage and proclamation of this legislation. He added that in mid-November, these organizations sent an open letter to the government urging this change to the bill.
“Given the current Critical level (red) restrictions facing all retailers across the province, it is important that we pass Bill 4 in time for the for the holiday season,” the organization said in the letter.
“It is our belief that this will help many retailers with additional revenues during this important time of year. Importantly, this change will also provide additional opportunities and or extended times for customers to shop in-store or pick up curbside orders in order to minimize how close we are when outside our residences.”
Fielding said most businesses owners support the change, adding the province wants to give businesses the option to remain open later on Sundays and statutory holidays.
“Manitoba was the only Western Canadian province to restrict retail business hours on Sundays and holidays and our government has been committed to modernizing our outdated and complicated shopping laws,” he said.
Manitoba will keep its current retail hour restrictions on Remembrance Day.
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