Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016 has arrived, but folks who want to know if banks are open or are trying to plan a trip to the post office might have a hard time knowing what’s open and what’s closed.
The holiday, celebrated on Monday, honors the late Civil Rights leader at what would have been his 87th birthday. The day has been observed on the third Monday of January since 1986, when it first became a federal holiday.
But because of the nature of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it can be difficult to tell what’s open and what’s closed. While it is a federal holiday, it’s not exactly like Christmas or Thanksgiving where all stores come to a halt. In fact, the day has become a popular time for retailers to offer sales on everything from clothing to electronics, hoping to coax shoppers out into the cold temperatures to do some post-holiday shopping.
What’s Closed Martin Luther King Day 2016?
Because it is a federal holiday, all state and federal offices will be closed. That includes post offices, courts, and most national historical parks. The DMV, Social Security offices, and the Veterans Affairs offices will be closed as well.
Most banks will be closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, though those who have smart ATMs may be able to make deposits or transfer funds, though these won’t be reflected until Tuesday.
Depending on what state you live in, the liquor stores may also be closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In Pennsylvania, for example, all stores will be closed for the holiday.
What’s Open Martin Luther King Day 2016?
The list of what’s open on Martin Luther King Day is quite a bit longer. Because it is an important day for retailers to pick up some post-holiday shoppers, many are offering some big sales.
Just don’t call them Martin Luther King Day Sales. As Refinery 29 noted, most stores are careful to term them “mid-season sales,” even though they take place on the day honoring the late Civil Rights leader.
Martin Luther King Jr. circa 1963. pic.twitter.com/DPdUbtwxth
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) January 17, 2016
“Obviously, honoring and remembering MLK should be done in ways that don’t involve a credit card,” the report noted. “With that in mind, if you’re aiming to spend this weekend, these are the discounts you’re probably looking for.”
There are some big sales at Target on certain flat-screen televisions (which can be found here), while Best Buy is offering 25 percent off select HDTVs as well as 60 percent off clearance items. Walmart has deals on many appliances and workout equipment (full deals can be found here).
While the post office is closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, those who want to ship a package will be able to turn to either UPS or FedEx, which are both open for regular hours.
Many libraries will be open as well, with many offering special programming for kids who are out of school.
Not only are we open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, both our art club for kids & teen writing club meet that day. pic.twitter.com/TVpxJu2Lpb
— MentorPublicLibrary (@MentorPL) January 17, 2016
And chances are that wherever you work, you’ll be open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well. A new national survey found that just under 40 percent of employers give MLK Day as a paid day off. The Bloomberg BNA Holiday Practices Survey found that though it’s still under half, the number of businesses offering Martin Luther King Jr. Day off is the highest of all time.
“The trend, for the most part, has been moving steadily up since the inception of the holiday in 1986,” said Matt Sottong, Bloomberg BNA’s director of surveys and research reports, in an interview with the Plain Dealer. “That year it was at 14 percent, and now we are at 37 percent. So, I am pretty comfortable in saying that the trend is going in the northerly direction. More employers are providing a day off for their employees this year than in any year.”
For any other questions on what’s open or what’s closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, or if anyone is wondering if their local diner or boutique shop is open, it’s best to give a call ahead of time and check it out.
[Picture by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images]