Thanksgiving is Thursday – Here’s What’s Open and What’s Closed

Grand Central Terminal in New York City

By Anna Breuer on 22 November 2021
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Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a national day of giving thanks for the harvest.  Travel is expected to be close to pre-pandemic levels after a year where the country largely stayed put amidst the coronavirus pandemic-induced decline in group activities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance stating that anyone attending a family gathering should be fully vaccinated, urging everyone to avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

George Washington, at the urging of Congress, issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789 that designated Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks, noting that “both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the People of the United States, a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer.”

The proclamation, however, did not make Thanksgiving a recurring holiday and it was not until the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the tradition of observing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November was instituted.

Meanwhile, the unofficial holiday of Black Friday – considered the start of the holiday shopping season – immediately follows Thanksgiving, resulting in a four-day weekend for many people.

Here’s what you need to know about what’s open for business and operating in the United States – and what isn’t – on Thursday and Friday.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES All Federal government offices are closed on Thursday, as will be almost all city and state offices.  Most will reopen on Friday.

POST OFFICE No regular mail delivery except for Priority Mail Express, formerly known as Express Mail. Regular service resumes on Friday.

BANKS Financial institutions have the option to close.  Almost all will.  Banks will resume regular hours on Friday.

SHOPS AND MARKETS.  Following a practice started in 2020, the majority of major retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. The list includes Apple, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Macy’s, which sponsors the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that takes place in New York City and is televised nationally.  Many grocery stores will be open, albeit with shorter-than-normal operating hours.

SCHOOLS Closed on Thursday and Friday in almost all jurisdictions, for both distance learning and in-person instruction.

FINANCIAL MARKETS The nation’s stock and bond markets will be closed on Thursday and reopen Friday for a shortened trading day.

TRANSPORTATION Most local transportation systems, such as buses, subways, and commuter rail systems, will operate on Sunday or holiday schedules Thursday with normal service on Friday.  Airports and train stations will be open.  Expect traffic on the roads Thursday to be lighter than usual.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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