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FILE- In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo items are seen on display ahead of the holiday shopping season at a Walmart store in North Bergen, N.J. Walmart Inc. is making two improvements to its third-party marketplace heading into the holidays as it seeks to better compete with online leader Amazon.com. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

It might feel way too early to be thinking about Christmas shopping — after all November 27th, otherwise known as Black Friday, is still 129 days, 8 hours, and a few minutes change away. But the millions of Americans who traditionally sneak away to play “Santa Claus” after Thanksgiving dinner might find their plans disrupted in 2020 by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement by Walmart on Tuesday. And it could leave shoppers scrambling come Black Friday.

The bombshell news cascading across the land is that the nation’s largest retailer has announced its locations nationwide will close their doors on Thanksgiving Day 2020 –for the first time in decades:

CNN:

Walmart will close its stores on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in more than 30 years, the world’s largest retailer said Tuesday.
The move comes at a time when retailers are rethinking their plans for the holiday shopping season as coronavirus cases rise, prompting concerns over crowds in stores. Walmart has kept its stores open on the holiday since the late 1980s. Meanwhile, Walmart’s Sam’s Club chain, historically, has closed on that day, as it will again this year.[…]
“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,” John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

The CEO added that the company “will spend about $428 million in total on special bonuses for its full-time and part-time employees for working through the pandemic,” with hourly workers and part-time and temporary workers taking home some “goodies” to fill their stockings, too — $300 and $150, respectively.

The Wall Street Journal confirmed how rare this kind of thing is for Walmart:

“Walmart has been open for business on Thanksgiving for more than thirty straight years, according to a spokeswoman.”

According to data complied by the National Retail Federation (with the latest figures posted for 2018), the retail giant boasted a whopping $388 billion in sales, with its next-best competitor, Amazon, way below at around $121 billion.

In more retail news tied to the Chinese plague, another huge retail company is relaxing face mask rules for its shoppers across the U.S.

USA Today/TENGA/Forbes:

USA Today and Forbes report that Dollar Tree, which owns and operates Family Dollar, reversed a decision which would have required customers to wear face masks, eight days after it was put in to place.

Previously, language posted on the company’s website on July 8 stated “all Associates, customers, and vendors to wear cloth face coverings when inside our stores.”

The website was updated on July 16, and the Dollar Tree now says employees will be required to wear masks and customers will only be requested to do so.

In a statement posted on Dollar Tree’s website, the drugstore chain wrote:

“In accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are requiring all Associates and vendors to wear face coverings when inside our stores,” Dollar Tree’s website states. “We also request that our customers wear face coverings, and require face coverings where required by state or local ordinance.”

While the Chinese virus might not topple a behemoth like Walmart or Dollar Tree, it continues to deal a devastating blow to entrepreneurs and mom and pop stores already struggling to keep their doors open, through purposeful, complicit strangling regulations and mandates ordered by red and blue state governors alike.

What do you think? Will the surprising move by Walmart affect your Turkey Day plans in 2020? Leave a comment below!

Becca Lower
Becca Lower is a writer with RedState and formerly worked at IJR.com as a writer and editor. She grew up outside Cincinnati, OH, in former Speaker John Boehner's district, and currently lives in Mesa, AZ.

Find her on Twitter at @BeccaJLower. Direct all tips/marriage proposals: [email protected]
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