Why the Good Friday ban on alcohol sales should be retained

The Vintners’ group and the restaurateurs are campaigning once again to bring an end to the ban on selling alcohol on Good Friday. ‘It’s archaic’, they say. ‘It upsets the tourists’. They even claim (wrongly) that the Vatican sells alcohol on Good Friday.

In this briefing note we deal with their arguments one by one. We point out that other countries have very restrictive Sunday trading laws. Germany is a good example. These are far more stringent and far-reaching than our Good Friday (and Christmas Day) ban on drink sales. Many countries restrict Sunday trading because they don’t believe every day should be equally dominated by commerce. The same argument can be made for our very modest, twice-yearly restrictions on alcohol sales.

As for the Vintners and the restaurateurs claim that the Vatican sells alcohol on Good Friday, this is a nice debating point, only it isn’t true. There is one shop in the Vatican and it closes on Holy Thursday and doesn’t open again until the following week. So no, the Vatican doesn’t sell alcohol on Good Friday.

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