The conservative Law and Justice government in Poland has taken a decidedly regulatory approach toward Sunday shopping. On Sunday, November 24, the government approved a law to ban Sunday trading within the next three years. If the law passes parliament, trading will be banned on two Sundays per month in 2018, increasing to three in 2019, and phased out altogether by 2020.
The ban, however, does accommodate several exceptions. It does not pertain to gas stations, train stations, seaports, pharmacies, flower shops, and souvenir shops, and allowances will be made for the holidays. There will be seven trade Sundays permitted during the year, including two leading up to Christmas and one preceding Easter.
Poland would actually join eight other EU countries with regulatory legislation pertaining to Sunday shopping habits. Recently, increased demographic and work-related pressures have led many Europeans, and Poles specifically, to welcome Sunday trade bans as a way to improve quality of life.
In Poland, the trading ban has been a long time coming. It was preceded by a holiday trade ban in 2007, and then formally proposed by the Solidarity Trade Union in 2016, finally circulating across parliament and coming to fruition in a gradual plan to phase in the Ban.
For one, the government argues the Sunday ban will generate more free time for families, which may contribute to a greater emphasis on family and the much needed population growth that comes with it.
The ban is also aligned with Polish values. It appeals to the Christian understanding of Sunday as a day of rest, and in a country where 96% of people identify as Catholic and over 57% actively engage with the religion.
It also falls in line with traditional [not biblical] concepts of work-life balance. In addition, with social values like equality and respect, the ban, it is claimed, may serve to lift stigma towards low-income workers by allowing laborers and retail workers greater individual freedom and a reprieve from an overwhelming workweek.
The ban’s economic impact is its primary point of contention. Opponents of the ban claim that it will have detrimental impacts on businesses; however, the government and the church expect that the ban will have little net economic benefit, while substantially improving quality of life for Polish citizens.
It is also expected that the ban provide openings for smaller businesses and local enterprises by removing much of the large retail competition on Sundays… Furthermore, with greater leisure time available, restaurants, bakeries and entertainment venues may see a spike in clientele and an increase in profits. Sunday losses experienced by other types of businesses are expected to be covered by increased purchasing during weekdays. The ban is also predicted to have no significant negative impact on the market.
The trouble with Sunday trading bans is that they are the foundation for laws imposing worship and the removal of religious freedom to those who worship on the Bible Sabbath. And while Sunday trading bans don’t violate consciences of God’s people, students of Bible prophecy see them as ominous signs of the Sunday worship laws predicted in Revelation 13.
Poland is working hand in hand with the Catholic Church to prepare for the time of tribulation for God’s people on a global scale. Keep in mind, that the enemy is working to organize a global system that will afford no place to be safe if you are a follower of Jesus and the Bible.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15.