Shopping on St. Stephen’s Day – At Billa: “People almost kick in the doors”


The Christmas holidays are a time of caution, peace and serenity. But you’ve never heard of it in the Praterstern in Vienna. Because the crowds at the Billa supermarket are more reminiscent of a normal shopping Saturday during Advent. The “Krone” got a picture of the wild goings on.

Vienna North, Praterstern: It is December 26, 9:30 am. In a few hours the family will arrive for Christmas dinner. The panic can be read on the faces of the people between the supermarket shelves. Some vegetables here for the soup, some minced meat there for the roast and the dry Christmas cookies are certainly easier to swallow with the coffee and whipped cream. “Heast, people are almost kicking in the doors,” a Viennese Grantler hisses into my ear from behind. His dissatisfaction is palpable in every drop of saliva that squirts down my neck.

And indeed: people push their way between the vegetable and pastry shelves with the good old elbow technique and grab everything they can get their hands on. The supermarket has been open since 6am. You would think it had been closed for the last seven days.

The governor has decision-making power
Billa am Praterstern is one of the many supermarkets that have special opening hours on both Sundays and public holidays. In Vienna alone, four Billa branches and three Spar stores open their doors on St. Stephen’s Day. And generate significant turnover in the process. These special opening hours are made possible with the permission of the state governor. According to Article 5 of the Opening Hours Act, the company can set its own opening hours “for sales activities for which there is a special regional need on Saturdays after 6 p.m., on Sundays, on public holidays or on Mondays until 6 a.m.”

To this end, he must consult with the relevant legal interest group, employers and employees. Special rules also apply in states with tourist areas. These can affect entire cities, for example in Vorarlberg. Sales points may also be open at certain times on Sundays.

Train stations with special regulations
Another exception applies to outlets in train and bus stations, airports and ship berths, which are allowed to open on Sundays to sell food, travel souvenirs and essential travel supplies. “A point of sale can only be regarded as a point of sale within the meaning of this provision if it can only be reached via the relevant transport facility,” paragraph 7 states.

Source: Krone


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