City guide

Explainer: New Sunday trading rules in Budapest

Photo : Colandre80 - Instagram
Hair’s[ku:l], fodrászat, szalon, fodrász, frizura

From 15 March, many shops in Hungary are no longer allowed to open on Sundays. We explain the changes to Sunday trading laws with some limited exceptions to the new rule.

UPDATE: On March 15th of 2015, Hungary introduced a new law mandating that most shops nationwide could no longer be open on Sundays. Due to popular demand by the citizens of Hungary, the government decided to revoke the law, and from April 17th retail outlets can again be open on Sundays. While some retailers have already opened for business on Sundays since April 17th, the majority of Hungarian retailers aim to first reopen on Sundays beginning on May 8.
What’s closed on Sundays
New laws in Hungary require that from March 15 all shops that are larger than 200 square metres (with some limited exceptions) will no longer be allowed to open on Sundays. In case you’re wondering the word for closed is “zárva” and the word for open is “nyitva.” The aim of the Sunday trading changes is to ensure that workers are not forced to work on Sundays.

The new law affects supermarkets (like Tesco and CBA), furniture stores (like Ikea), electronics shops (like Media Markt), clothing stores (like Zara and H&M) and other types of stores which are bigger than 200 square metres. Some stores that are smaller than 200 square metres will also be closed on Sundays.

What’s open on Sundays
There are some exceptions to the new rule, and tweaks to what is exempt are still being made. Shops that are smaller than 200 square metres can open but only if it’s just the owner or one of the owner’s family members that is working.

Shops that are, at this stage, free to remain open on Sundays regardless of size include convenience stores, news stands and shops, pharmacies, shops at Liszt Ferenc International Airport, shops at train and bus depots, shops at hospitals, markets, petrol stations, restaurants and hotels, museums, baths and cigarette shops. Shops selling bakery goods or dairy products may open on Sundays from 5am to midday.

On Sundays during the Advent period (ahead of Christmas) all shops can open if they wish. Each store can also nominate one other Sunday in the year when they can choose to open.

It’s not yet clear whether business offering an “order online” and delivery service will be impacted.

Photo: We Love Budapest
Shopping malls and tourist spots
Shopping malls (such as WestEnd City Centre) will remain open, however, the stores within them will be closed on Sundays unless they fall under one of the aforementioned exemptions.

The famous shopping strip called Váci Street and shops at touristy hotspots in downtown areas will also be closed on Sundays unless they meet the criteria for exemption.

Opening hours
Some shops and big chains are compensating for the new rules by extending their trading hours on the other six days of the week. Some of these stores, for example, will be open as early as 6am and until as late as 10pm on weekdays to give shoppers more time to buy.

Some brands (such as Spar and CBA) have varying sized shops so its opening hours will vary from store to store.

It’s also important to note that the general opening hours of some stores will be capped to 6am – 10pm, meaning some stores might have to reduce their existing opening hours to comply with this element of the new rule.