That the shops of Tarragona open their doors on Sundays and summer holidays is a debate that has been on the table for years and years. However, now, the main commercial agents of the city believe that we are facing the perfect opportunity to push the proposal forward. The only thing that is needed is the agreement of the entire sector, both small businesses and large stores. Once consensus has been achieved, the initiative must be voted on in the municipal plenary session, and will be submitted to the Directorate of Commerce of the Generalitat, the competent body to regulate this matter.
The sector intends to follow in Tarragona the steps that have been carried out in recent months in the city of Barcelona, and that have ended with a successful result. The proposal, which is in an embryonic stage, contemplates opening every Sunday and summer holidays, from June 15 to September 15, as is done in other municipalities near Tarragona, such as Salou, Torredembarra or Altafulla. “If we don’t seize this opportunity now, we will always regret it. Then we will complain when we see buses full of tourists going to Barcelona to be able to buy on Sundays, “says Florenci Nieto, president of Pimec Comerç Tarragona, one of the institutions that leads the initiative. «We cannot get off the hook and stay out of the game of what the big cities do. For the first time we can carry out a historic social pact that places Tarragona where it deserves”, adds Nieto. Currently, the entities that lead the proposal are in the phase of seeking consensus. Meetings and encounters with associations and commercial platforms are a constant. The next step will be talks with the unions, which are essential in this process.
At the moment, the opinion among the sector is mixed. There is everything, depending, above all, on the square meters that the business has. In favor of opening on Sundays and holidays are the large stores, such as Parc Central or El Corte Inglés, and some commercial associations. As a note, add that more and more local businesses are joining the cause. On the other side of the scale is the small business, which is more reluctant due to a family conciliation issue.
Francisco Lambea, manager of the Parc Central shopping center, assures that “opening on Sundays would be very good, not only for us, but also for the city in general”, and adds that “in this way, we will be able to recover the drop in sales that has registered in recent years due to restrictions and temporary closures. Lambea believes that the sector must adapt to the natural evolution of commerce and “opening on Sundays is an example of how to do it”.
For its part, official sources from El Corte Inglés assure that “this measure would contribute to the centrality of Tarragona, turning it into a city of reference, also in the commercial field.” For this shopping center, opening on Sundays “means giving more service to tourists, making the city more attractive and moving it away from the unique image of sun and beach,” comment the same sources.
Both companies agree that the most important thing is to reach an agreement between the entire sector, a complex task ahead, taking into account the opinion of a part of the group, as is the case of the Via T association. Its president, Salvador Minguella , assures that “the majority of associates of our entity do not agree with opening on Sundays”. The reasons, according to Minguella, have to do with family reconciliation. “They want us to work seven days a week. If it is currently difficult to maintain Saturday, imagine Sunday,” says Minguella, who adds that “another thing would be to carry out a kind of campaign, which will guarantee the viability of the initiative.”
Among the definitive proposal presented by the commercial agents, it must be delimited which will be the areas of great tourist influx, known as ZGAT. Only businesses in these areas will be able to open on summer Sundays. This document will also define the hours, which everything indicates will be from twelve noon to eight in the afternoon. When these details are finalized, it will be time to transfer the proposal to the City Council. The municipal plenary must submit it to a vote and, later, the General Directorate of Commerce will be in charge of ratifying it. The sector assures that they have the support of most of the political groups of the Tarragona corporation.
For his part, the Councilor for Commerce of the Tarragona City Council, Dídac Nadal, highlights that “the most important thing is that the commercial sector reaches an agreement to be able to start the project”, and adds that “in the case of Barcelona, It took two years to get there.” Nadal makes it clear that the requirements needed to carry out the proposal are two: «That the initiative generates new jobs, and that employees are not compensated for Sundays worked due to holidays during the week. We must guarantee their rights. They are sine qua non conditions, ”adds the councilor.