Walmart made the announcement on Tuesday and comes as a reaction to the spike in coronavirus cases across the country. Keeping the store open on Thanksgiving could result in large crowds as last-minute shoppers would be searching for items. This would undoubtedly put customers and employees at an unnecessary risk of catching COVID-19.
"We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up," CEO of Walmart U.S., John Furner, said in a statement per CNN Business. "We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones."
Walmart has been open on Thanksgiving nationwide since the late 1980s. Yet, it's not against the companies nature to close up shop on the holiday as Walmart's Sam's Club chain is always closed on Thanksgiving.
Along with attempting to protect them from COVID-19 and giving them the holiday off, Walmart will also shell out close to $428 million in "special bonuses" to full-time and part-time employees who have worked through the pandemic. This breaks down to hourly workers receiving a $300 bonus while part-time workers will get a $150 bonus. The bonus will apply to employees hired before July 31 and will be paid out on Aug. 20.
These bonuses will be the third time Walmart has given additional financial support to its workers this year. But, there are still union and democratic leaders that believe the company should provide more compensation for employees who risked their health by working despite the threat of coronavirus. They argue that this should come in the form of wage increases instead of cash bonuses and days off.