Grocery store owner fined $10K for opening on Good Friday
The owner of a Winnipeg grocery store chain is vowing to fight back against a $10,000 fine he received for opening on Good Friday.
A government spokesperson told CTV News in April the Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act prohibits retail and businesses from opening to the public on defined holidays, including Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and the act applies to all businesses except exceptions under the act.
Groceries stores are not specifically listed, and unless a retail business is listed, it cannot be open.
Some businesses that are listed and allowed to be open include restaurants, pharmacies and laundromats.
Food Fare owner Munther Zeid said Tuesday the fine doesn’t make sense. He opened the Portage Avenue location on Good Friday.
‘We just came off another stat holiday… So is Victoria Day not important anyone? A lot of stores were open that day,” he said.
“What world allows on a religious holiday for people to go gambling and if they lose their money they're going to start drinking and then go get high,” said Zeid.
It says these businesses can be open Sunday shopping hours on Louis Riel Day, Victoria Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
It also says unless a retail business is specifically listed as allowed to open on a holiday, it cannot be open on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Canada Day, Labour Day or Christmas Day.
Zeid told CTV News he will fight the fine.
Shoppers who spoke with CTV News had mixed feelings about the fine and the rules.
“Generally I don't think stores should be open because it’s a day of obligation, and everybody is meant to observe that,” said Kingsley Oshionebo.
“I want to be able to buy groceries when I want to buy groceries. The world is changing,” said Mary Finnegan.
The province said in a statement Food Fare has been previously warned for operating in violation of the law on Labour Day in 2018, and was warned again ahead of Good Friday this year.
The province said it recognizes Manitobans have diverse opinions about the rules around stores opening on holidays, and it will continue to listen to views on this topic.
Zeid said the law should be made fair to all retailers and he’ll be open for business on the next stat holiday.