In a couple of days the country shuts down, sort of, as the public sector begins its holidays Monday, December 24 and back on the job on Friday, January 4, 2013.
The holiday period, however, actually begins at the close of business Friday, December 21 and extends to the morning of Monday, January 7, 2013, when you include weekends.
In effect, if you also take into account the legal holidays of December 25 and January 1, public sector employees are only off for a total of 8 days.
The government announced earlier this month the vacation period for all Central Government employees, dates also used by public institutions and municipalities, for the most part.
The private sector also shuts down for the holidays come Friday, though the closing depends on the type of business and industry. For example professional offices -lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc – follow the public sector holiday schedule.
Banks and financial institutions, that typically closed for extended periods, now for the most part stay open save for the legal holidays. Large retail stores typically stay open, but call ahead or check ahead the closing schedule. Hospitals, both private and public, stay open during the holidays, however, clinics do not.
A rule of thumb for the holidays is this, do your business before or after the public sector holiday break.