Autumn holidays in Czechia: Which stores will remain open?

Public holidays in autumn come with a list of store closures that start this Wednesday. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.09.2022 12:00:00 (updated on 27.09.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The midweek public holiday of Saint Václav means that shoppers will only have access to small shops on Wednesday for their groceries. This is because of a law passed in 2016 that requires most stores over 200 square meters to close on some holidays but not on others. The list for mandatory closure includes Sept. 28, which is Statehood Day as well as St. Václav (known in English as Wenceslas) Day. The latter is the patron saint of the Czech state.

Rules changed during the state of emergency for the Covid pandemic, as well as for the war in Ukraine, when a loophole let stores stay open. This is, however, no longer the case.

Stores will also close next month on Oct. 28, which is Independent Czechoslovak State Day. If you want to do some last-minute Christmas shopping, make sure to do so before noon on Dec. 24, when stores close until Dec. 27. The New Year starts with more store closures on Jan. 1 for Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State.

A holiday that allows stores to remain open is the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day on Nov. 17.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the closures do not apply to all stores. Pharmacies, gas stations, and shops at airports, railway stations (including Prague’s Hlavní nádraží), and hospitals are exempt.

Delivery services are not covered by the law and should operate as normal. However, personal-shopper services that rely on sourcing items from supermarkets will be faced with limited suppliers.

Neither shop owners nor shoppers are happy with the current calendar, which requires large stores close to completely close on seven of a total of 13 legal holidays in Czechia.

“We know from customer feedback that the current model, in which stores are open on some public holidays and closed on some holidays, is still confusing for many customers,” Penny Market spokesman Tomáš Kubík told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) in late 2021.

The Association of Shopping Centers has long held the view that businesses should be able to respond freely to the needs of the market and the region.

On the other hand, unions representing shop workers want to extend the regulation to cover all holidays, a situation that would clear any lingering confusion, and also allow shop workers spend public holidays with their families.

Holidays when large shops must close:

  • New Year's Day
  • Easter Monday
  • May 8: Liberation from Fascism
  • Sept. 28: Czech Statehood Day (St. Wenceslas)
  • Oct. 28: Establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Eve (after noon)
  • Dec. 25: Christmas
  • Dec. 26: Christmas

Holidays when large shops remain open:

  • Good Friday
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • July 5: Cyril and Methodius Day
  • July 6: Jan Hus Day
  • Nov. 17: Day of the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Day (until noon)
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