Most supermarket chains will open on the morning of Dec. 24 for last-minute holiday shopping

Five of the biggest chains have announced they will open for Christmas Eve day, while two will be closed

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 21.12.2020 10:00:00 (updated on 21.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Most retail chains will be open on the morning of Christmas Eve, Dec 24. The shops will remain closed for the Christmas holidays and will reopen on Dec. 27. They will then operate until New Year’s Eve. On Dec. 31, customers can expect reduced operating hours. Most stores will then be closed for New Year’s Day.

During the morning of Dec. 24, Tesco will be open until 11 a.m., but will not deliver online purchases that day. The Kaufland and Albert chains will be open until 11:45 a.m., while Globus hypermarkets will be open until 11:30 a.m. and Billa until noon.

However, some retail chains will be closed Dec. 24, regardless of further developments in the epidemiological situation. Lidl and Penny supermarkets will not open at all.

Czechs traditionally celebrate Christmas in evening of Dec. 24. The next two days are also official state holidays as is Jan. 1.

Between the holidays, the shops will be open during normal opening hours, depending on the pandemic situation. On New Year's Eve, Tesco and Billa will close at 5 p.m., while Kaufland and Albert will close at 6 p.m.

Under normal circumstances, stores over 200 square meters must be closed by law starting at noon on Dec. 24 and all day Dec. 25–26 and then again on Jan. 1, in accordance with the Retail Sales Hours Act in force since the end of 2016.

The law also applies to Easter Monday, Czech Statehood Day (Sept. 28) and Independent Czechoslovak State Day (Oct. 28). Business associations have repeatedly criticized the law. On the contrary, unions have been advocating to extend regulation to all 13 public holidays.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, retail operations are governed by the PES system and government regulations. A state of emergency is valid until Dec. 23. The government on Dec. 22 will ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend it until Jan. 22. The PES level will be evaluated on Dec. 23 and possibly raised it to the fifth and strictest level from the current fourth level.

Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (for ANO) said last week that the government will allow stores to be open on the morning of Dec. 24 if the state of emergency continues.

The fourth and fifth levels of the PES system prohibit all retail sales on Sundays and public holidays. The government made an exception for stores having to close on Sunday when the fourth level took effect again on Dec. 18, as the Sunday closings previously resulted in stores being more crowded on Fridays and Mondays. Whether the exception will be extended to allow stores smaller than 200 square meters to be open on the Dec. 25 and 26 holidays is not yet clear.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more