Walmart has announced that it will not be opening its stores on Thanksgiving Day, bringing an end to a run of opening on the holiday stretching back to the 1980s.
The decision comes four months ahead of Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping period of the year., with Walmart CEO John Furner noting in a memo to employees that "holiday shopping will be different this year."
With America preparing for a long battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers will face serious challenges over how it will tackle the Black Friday season with social distancing still likely to be required.
Furtner notes that "we will be managing sales events differently" moving forward.
"We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones," said Furner. "We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts."
Walmart will operate normal hours on Wednesday, Nov. 25 before closing on Thanksgiving.
Hours for Black Friday, Nov. 27, will be announced at a "later date," suggesting early opening hours that have become customary for the big sales event are
The retailer also announced that it will be paying out another cash pandemic bonus to its hourly workers in both Walmart and Sam's Club locations, totaling $300 for full-time staff and $150 for part-time and temporary workers.