Walmart will shutter its stores on Thanksgiving Day to give employees a day off after “a trying year,” the company said in a statement Tuesday, raising questions about what Black Friday will look like during the pandemic.
It’s a reversal for the megaretailer, which began its Black Friday sales around 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving last year, according to Business Insider.
Sam’s Club, Walmart’s membership-only store, will remain closed on Thanksgiving as usual.
Hours for Black Friday will be released “at a later date,” Walmart said in an announcement.
It’s unclear how Walmart and other retailers would accommodate Black Friday crowds in the midst of the pandemic.
Walmart also announced it will distribute around $428 million in bonuses for employees, which adds up to $1.1 billion in three bonuses given so far this year.
“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up,” John Furner, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. division, said in a statement. “We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones.”
Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. as Americans begin buying Christmas gifts at slashed prices, is known for attracting huge crowds to stores, which presents health risks during the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart announced it will require customers to wear face masks inside stores last week. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Walmart was making moves to compete with Amazon Prime by launching its own membership service, called Walmart+.