Walmart Will Close for Thanksgiving Again This Year
If you wake up this Thanksgiving morning and realize that you're out of butter or forgot to buy fresh cranberries or a Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie, you won't be able to make an emergency run to Walmart. On Friday, Walmart announced that all of its U.S. stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day-Thursday, November 25-for the second year in a row.
The Arkansas-based retailer says that closing for the holiday is a thank you to its employees for their hard work during the past year, and for having to deal with...everything that this global health crisis has put them through.
"Throughout the pandemic, our associates have been nothing short of heroic in how they have stepped up to serve our customers and their communities," Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "Closing our stores on Thanksgiving Day is one way we're saying 'thank you' to our teams for their dedication and hard work this year. We hope everyone will take the opportunity to be with their loved ones during what's always a special time."
In addition to closing for Thanksgiving, the company has provided "expanded access" to no-cost counseling services. It has also extended its COVID-related emergency leave policies through the end of September. According to the Walmart website, employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been ordered to quarantine by a health care provider or by a government order (following international travel, for example) are eligible for two weeks of paid leave. In addition, anyone who feels unwell after getting a COVID vaccine "may be eligible" for up to three days of paid leave.
In January, Target also announced that stores would be closed on Thanksgiving Day for the second year. "The response was so positive [last November] that we'll carry it forward this year, keeping our Target stores closed all day long on Thanksgiving Day," the company said, according to CNN. "This is just one example of how our evolving strategy is meeting the needs of our business and our guests."
Walmart said that it would announce its hours for Black Friday shopping at a later time. Last November, some of its Black Friday "Deals for Days" were available online at midnight, and its U.S. stores opened for in-person shopping at 5 a.m. "We've been very thoughtful as we planned this year's event," the company said at the time. "[W]e expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates." Surely nobody would be mad if things were safer (and less chaotic) this year too.