Venezuela’s stores will halve their work hours to four a day in order to comply with the government’s energy rationing rules.
According to ministers, a severe drought caused by El Nino has brought 18 of Venezuela’s hydro-electric dams to critically low water levels.
A spokesman for Venezuela’s retail association said the drop in working hours would have an impact on jobs.
The state energy corporation (Corpoelec) had wanted cuts twice a day, between 1PM and 3PM and then again between 7PM and 9PM.
The retail association, The Chamber of Venezuelan Commercial Centers (Cavececo), said it had made an alternative proposal: that stores should open late at 12:00 and close at 19:00 saving five hours of energy use daily.
However, they had not received a response to this suggestion, the organization said.
Cavececo said opening and closing twice in a day would be disastrous for banking operations, health centers, servicing companies, pharmacies, supermarkets and particularly restaurants that depended on electrical energy to preserve and refrigerate their products.
However, the reduction to only four hours a day would also have an impact on businesses that ran two work shifts which represents around 75% of employees in shopping centers.
The Venezuelan government has also asked private residences to start saving energy and has been rationing domestic water supplies since January.