Walmart is planning to change its holiday hours amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in over 30 years, the retail giant announced that in-store Thanksgiving Day deals will not be a part of Black Friday promotions. Walmart will close its stores on Thanksgiving 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement shared on Tuesday, July 21, John Furner, the president and CEO of Walmart US, addressed the current state of the company during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and said the company would be closing all stores on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, to give employees a break. Sam's Club, which is owned my Walmart, will also close all locations on the holiday.
"We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up," Furner said in a statement. "We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones. We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts." The superstore, which usually opens on the fall holiday for regular hours and kicks off its Black Friday sales early in the evening, also announced that stores would operate as normal on Wednesday, Nov. 25, but Black Friday in-store hours for Friday, Nov. 27, will come at a later date.
Walmart also revealed in its July 21 announcement that it would be giving out a cash bonus to store, club, distribution center, and fulfillment center associates, its third since the beginning of 2020. Full-time hourly associates will receive $300, while part-time hourly and temporary associates will pocket $150.
Following Walmart's announcement, a number of people took to Twitter to criticize the chain's decision, which some people believed was based more in business reasons. Many pointed out that keeping stores open on Thanksgiving — which usually draws large crowds due to doorbuster deals — wouldn't have been as feasible this year anyway due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the logistics of staffing stores while attempting to enforce social distancing.
In a statement to Elite Daily about Walmart's decision to close the store on Thanksgiving this year, a spokesperson acknowledged "shopping and events will look different than in years past." But according to the spokesperson, the decision was rooted in giving employees time with loved ones: "This is a unique year and our people have gone above and beyond to take care of customers since the start of the pandemic. Closing on Thanksgiving Day is another way we are saying thank you to them for all their efforts."
In the past, Walmart has been criticized for reportedly not giving workers holiday pay for working on holidays. The day off on Thanksgiving is not automatically a paid day. Walmart employees will have to apply their paid time off (PTO) to the day, which are paid hours off that associates accrue through hours worked. According to a Walmart spokesperson, an associate can use their PTO, if they choose, for Thursday, Nov. 26, in order to be paid for the day.
With in-store Black Friday deals looking they could be effectively cancelled this year due to the ongoing pandemic, it won't be surprising if other stores follow Walmart's example and also decide to shift their holiday hours this year.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.