23 May 2016

Tonga bans bakeries from opening on Sundays

7:26 pm on 23 May 2016

The manager of one of Tonga's main bakeries says not being allowed to open on Sundays will have a dramatic impact and lead to job losses.

Tonga's Police Minister, Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, has announced no bakery will be allowed to open on Sundays from July 3.

This followed a protest by church groups angry at an anomaly that has existed since 1982, when bakeries were allowed to open on Sundays after a cyclone.

The minister said operators of businesses that flout the new rule face jail and/or fines.

The manager of A Cowley and Co, Alfred Cowley, said the government's move will have a significant impact, with many bakeries in Tonga already struggling with big loans.

"Sunday, being a big trading day for us - Sunday trading is really based on our repayments also," said Mr Cowley. "The disappointing thing is that the government that a lot of the people thought would be doing good for Tonga and would bring in democracy, would [have] let the people vote to see if they want the Sunday trading or not."

Alfred Cowley said his company would have to lay off workers as a result of the government's action.