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Target & Walmart Will Be Closed On Thanksgiving Because Of COVID

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Logo for retail store Target is visible on shopping cart
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Stores like Target, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods will be closed on Thanksgiving amid fears of crowds that could spread COVID-19

For years now, big box retailers have had a Thanksgiving tradition: Starting their sales and opening their doors early on Turkey Day to get a jump on Black Friday, one of the biggest sales days of the year. But this year, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and fears of how crowded stores during holiday sales might help spread the disease, Target just announced that for the first time since 2011, all its stores will be closed on Thanksgiving day.

“Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Target execs said in a press release. “That’s why our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season.”

That’s the biggest change Target is making as it looks to a holiday shopping season where crowded stores could endanger both shoppers and workers. It will start rolling out its holiday deals in October, in hopes that a more spread out holiday shopping season will encourage shoppers to physically spread out.

In the announcement, Target also leaned into its pickup and delivery services, and encouraged shoppers to sign up for Target Circle, an online rewards system for those who shop from home.

“This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we’re continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season in a way that only Target can,” said CEO Brian Cornell.

Target’s announcement came after Walmart made a similar one last week, saying it would close all its stores on Thanksgiving and give “special cash bonuses” for employees. And right on the heels of Target’s announcement, Dick’s Sporting Goods made one of its own, saying it would also close all its stores for the holiday.

Of course, all these stores are only closing on Thanksgiving day, and have said nothing about Black Friday. We can’t imagine they’d close for the biggest shopping day of the holiday season, safety be damned. We can only hope that shoppers have the sense not to venture out to stores in person that day, and to shop online to take advantage of all the deals while keeping themselves and their families safe from COVID-19.

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