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Typing error gave supermarkets 'extra trading hours'

A typing error in the Government’s state of emergency orders gave supermarkets an extra two hours of trading on Saturday evening, before officials were forced to correct the anomaly and release an updated version.

The National Emergency Operation Center [N.E.O.C.] Chairman, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, confirmed the error in the amended S.O.E. orders that were released to the public by the Government’s Press Secretariat.

“I think we overlooked that issue, but I will get back to you as to why,” he said in a telephone interview. “The opening hours for Supermarkets is amended and will go into effect on 21st June 2020. The rest of the state of emergency orders are still in effect.”

The amended S.O.E. orders released last Wednesday stated that supermarkets would close at 9pm on Saturday.

It is not known if local businesses that own supermarkets capitalised on the extra two hours of trading last Saturday, in line with last Wednesday's amended S.O.E. orders before the error was corrected.

As part of the amended S.O.E. orders released last Wednesday by the Press Secretariat, supermarkets were instructed to stay open from Monday to Saturday from 6am to 7pm, except Saturday when they close at 9pm.

“(1) For supermarkets: (a) from Monday–Saturday, the opening hours are from 6.00am-7.00pm except for Saturday to be closed at 9.00pm; and (b) for Sunday, the opening hours are from 3.00pm-7.00pm; and (c) this rule for supermarkets does not affect small shops which may operate normal hours,” stated the amended S.O.E. orders.

But in the new S.O.E. orders released late Saturday night, the Press Secretariat corrected the error and stated that the business hours for all supermarkets Monday to Saturday is from 6am to 7pm. The corrected amended S.O.E. orders now reads as follows:

The opening hours for Supermarkets is amended and to go into effect 21st June 2020.  The rest of the State of Emergency Orders are still in effect.

Meanwhile Supermarkets are strongly advised to follow the new amendment published below and signed into law today.

(1)  For supermarkets:

(a)   from Monday – Saturday, the opening hours are from 6:00am -7.00pm; and

(b)  for Sunday, the opening hours are from 3:00pm-7:00pm; and

(c)   this rule for supermarkets does not affect small shops which may operate normal hours.

(2)  All businesses must close on Sunday, except:

(a) small shops which may operate normal hours; and

(b) the supermarkets in the restricted opening hours as stated above in (2)(b).

(3)  For the purposes of this Order:  

(a) “supermarket” is a shop where a person walks in through doors to purchase any groceries, and any other item; and

(b) “small shop” means a small shop with no walk in doors, and where purchase is made through the window opening/s.

This Order commences on 21st June 2020.

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