AMMAN — A recent study revealed that regulating the commercial sector’s operating hours will have a positive impact by reducing operational costs and alleviating traffic.

The Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) recommended the implementation of a system to regulate the opening and closing hours for commercial establishments within Amman.

Mohammad Khatib, ACC spokesperson, told The Jordan Times that ACC President Tawfiq Al Hajj, along with ACC board members, met with Greater Amman Municipality's (GAM) representatives to discuss the findings of the study.

The study, which was made available to The Jordan Times, was conducted by the Policy and Studies Department of the Chamber in collaboration with the Ad-Dustour Centre for Economic Studies. The study surveyed the opinions of 3,000 commercial establishment owners representing 18 professions and sectors. The aim of the study was to learn the general opinion about regulating working hours — both opening and closing times — for commercial entities across 19 geographic regions within GAM boundaries.

The study aimed to align operating hours for the commercial sector considering the interests and requirements of the sector and its employees.

The study proposed that the system’s trial phase will be initiated in Amman, whereby GAM, in coordination with the Amman Chamber of Commerce, will issue regulations specifying the opening and closing hours of commercial entities within the city's boundaries.

This would be in accordance with the relevant legislation, namely Article 13 of Amman Municipality Law No. 18 of 2021, and Article 11 of Occupational Licensing Law No. 11 of 2022.

“Almost 60 per cent of commercial establishment owners support the idea of regulating operating hours, while 24.5 per cent do not,” the study added.

A significant percentage of those in favour of regulated hours cited social considerations, such as having more time for families and social events, reducing congestion, saving energy costs and alleviating traffic, said the study.

The study added that business owners highlighted the successful experience of regulated hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, where opening and closing times were set by the government.

“Almost 53 per cent of proponents of regulated hours suggested a specific opening time in the morning, with a proposed starting time of 10am throughout the year,” the study added.

Additionally, around 53 per cent favoured a specific closing time in the evening, suggesting an 8pm closing time during winter and a 10pm closing time during summer, said the study.

Geographically, the distribution of opinions varied from one area to another due to differences in the number and specialisations of commercial establishments, according to the study.

The highest percentage in favour of regulating work hours was observed in Radio and Television Street, whereby 100 per cent agreed with set operation timings, followed by Jabal Al Hussein and Marka with 94 per cent and then Sweileh with 91 per cent.

Regarding professional distribution, the study covered opinions of commercial establishment owners in 18 different sub-sectors, including clothing, fabrics, curtains, footwear, restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, electronics, and more.

“As for occupation-specific preferences, 50 per cent of those in favour of regulated hours believed that opening and closing times should be determined according to the sub-sector,” the study added.

The highest percentage in support of regulated hours was seen in the furnishings, carpets, decorations sub-sectors, followed by libraries, stationery, electronics, electrical appliances, and construction materials, while the least support was found among smoking-related establishments, restaurants and coffee shops.

Ahmad Al Said, a restaurant owner, praised the idea of regulated hours as it would provide a predictable schedule for both customers and employees.

“Having set opening and closing times that apply to all commercial establishments will help owners cut costs and operate more effectively,” Said added.

Lina Abu Rajab, a clothing store owner, told The Jordan Times that she supports the implementation of set operation times.

“Having consistent opening and closing times would help customers plan their shopping trips better and allow shop owners to cut costs without harming their business, since a set time will apply to all retailers, none will be left behind,” said Abu Rajab, who added that this step would contribute to reducing traffic in Amman.

Yousef Hamdan, supermarket manager, told The Jordan Times that setting operating hours is not feasible for all sub-sectors.

“The ACC needs to consider the specific needs of various types of businesses before implementing regulated hours, as some sectors, like restaurants and supermarkets require more flexibility due to customer demand,” Hamdan added.

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