Councils’ say on supermarket opening times

Just two weeks after announcing new extended opening hours for supermarkets, the Portuguese government has decided that local councils should have the final say.

Câmaras will be responsible now for the opening hours of supermarkets on Sundays and holidays.

Faro Mayor Macário Correia said: “I am not against the possibility of extending the opening hours of supermarkets, something which should benefit consumers.”

But Portimão Mayor Manuel da Luz is against the opening of supermarkets on Sundays as the day “should be devoted to the family”.

“I think that such a decision would be better if it was done at a regional level, through the Algarve Câmaras Association, AMAL,” he added.

In Albufeira, Mayor Desidério Silva said: “I have a clear opinion on this matter, but I think now is not the right time to make it public.”

Tavira Câmara is said to be still reflecting on the new law.

João Rosado, the president of ACRAL, the region’s retailers association, said: “The approval of this new law, which allows the opening of supermarkets on Sundays and holidays (until midnight), will not be positive for the smaller traders and will have a tremendous negative impact on them.

“The Algarve has the highest rate of supermarkets and shopping centres in terms of square metres per thousand inhabitants.  Local authorities must be aware of the negative impact that this measure will have.”