Many places in Europe are notorious for not being open on Sundays. This is especially true in Switzerland. Today, August 30th 2020, for some odd reason, some stores are open.




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The only explanations, given here, are:

ouverture dimanche


Ouverture exceptionnelle

Which equate to something like Sunday opening and exceptional opening, respectively.

Why are the shops open today?

  • Where in Switzerland is this? Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 15:19
  • 2
    Are you on a desktop PC? What does happen when you hover the mouse over the i next to the times for Sunday? Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 16:16
  • 1
    @KristvanBesien Geneva.
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    @BernhardDöbler It just says the same thing: "Ouverture exceptionnelle."
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    Note that laws on this in Switzerland are highly decentralised.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 6:14

3 Answers 3


In Geneva, following a 2018 vote, shops are allowed to open on three Sundays during the year. France has had similar but more permissive regulations for years (with some nuances between regions and large supermarkets constantly pushing the limits) and concerns about losing business to the competition just across the border in Haute-Savoie or Ain is an additional reason for Geneva in particular to allow this. In neighbouring Vaud, the details are left to the municipalities but shops do close on Sunday for the most part (including this mall, which is actually very close to Geneva).

Apparently, this particular Sunday was chosen as it is the end of the first school week. Unsurprisingly, the other two Sundays are in the weeks leading to Christmas.

  • 7
    Same for Germany. Local authorities can allow local shops to open on several Sundays. There is a website listing these locations for the next weeks.
    – Neusser
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 7:23
  • 4
    In Germany, those are called "verkaufsoffener Sonntag". Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 10:42
  • 6
    And koopzondag in the Netherlands. But really, French regulations are more relevant here, not mainly as a source of inspiration, but because Geneva is basically a transborder city, with tens of thousands of people crossing the border daily in both directions and some associated governance problems.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 10:47
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    @SnakeDoc "As an American" :-D en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_laws_in_the_United_States
    – Sneftel
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 17:47
  • 3
    @SnakeDoc Don't have a link at hand, history differs a bit depending on the country, sometimes religion played a big role, sometimes workers' right was the main concern, sometimes a bit of both. It's just one aspect of labour law among many, along with minimum wage, leave and working time regulations, protection against unfair dismissal, etc. The notion is that employees are not negotiating as equal with employers so the state intervenes to prevent them from being forced to “consent” to something that's not in their interest.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 21:01

The exception to the rule are the main stations of SBB/CFF/FFS in larger cities which often include shops for basic needs like food (e.g., Migros) and a pharmacy which are open all days, including Sundays. Depending on the space available, you may find additional shops there, too. Since you mention Geneva, see the listing for Cornavin in the city, and Geneva airport.

  • 2
    This doesn't really answer the question as those exceptions allow opening on Sundays throughout the year, whereas in OP's question, the shop is apparently open on this specific Sunday, August 30.
    – Llewellyn
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 20:58

It seems to be related to the start of the school year: https://www.20min.ch/fr/story/magasins-ouverts-les-dimanches-30-aout-13-et-20-decembre-619890484636

Or long story short: The "shopping associations" applied the canton for particular stores to be legally open on three more Sundays of the year, so that people can shop pencils and stuff for school, and later in the year - holiday stuff.

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