Walmart announced Tuesday that it will close its stores on Thanksgiving Day amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to Fox 11 in Los Angeles, the company announced the plan on Tuesday, saying that it wants to give its employees the opportunity to spend the holiday with their families. Normally, Walmart opens early on Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season.
The retailer does not appear to have revealed its plans for Black Friday, which is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, but closing on Thanksgiving Day could potentially be an indicator that the company is considering the large groups of people that show up on these days and is taking preliminary precautions. In addition to the holiday plans, Walmart also announced on Tuesday that it will giving out another round of employee bonuses. "Our associates have been working at an incredible pace, they’ve solved problems, and they’ve set an amazing example for others," said Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner. "To further appreciate their incredible work, we are pleased to share another special cash bonus this summer."
Walmart is giving hourly workers $150-$300 bonuses because of the pandemic, though they fall short of demands for overall wage increases.
It is also closing stores on Thanksgiving for the first time in decades, so workers "can spend the time with their friends and families." pic.twitter.com/MQIFS0FOmf— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 21, 2020
The Thanksgiving and bonuses news comes just one day after Walmart officially enacted its new mask policy. Staring Monday, and for the foreseeable future, all customers are expected to wear a mask when they enter a Walmart or Sam's Club store. "As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so too have the number and types of face covering mandates being implemented," read a statement from the company.
Walmart added, "To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols." Along with the new mask policy, Fox News reported that Walmart also announced the addition of "health ambassadors" at all of its locations. The role of these specific employees will be to remind customers of the local government (city, county, or state) ordinances regarding mask-wearing. They will also be there to remind customers of the store's policy.