Since 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been recognized as a federal holiday — after Congress passed a bill which designated the third Monday in January to be a day observed in his honor.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 21, 2019, and celebrates the slain civil rights icon. On all national holidays, non-essential federal workers have the day off from work, and most government offices are closed. Most government services are not offered, either.
Because Martin Luther King Jr. Day occurs during a partial federal government shutdown, many places which families might have visited as a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. are not open, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia — and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site in Alabama.
A considerable number of museums in the U.S. will remain open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s a tradition for many museums to offer free admission on MLK Day, appealing to students and their families to hopefully enjoy on their day off.
Banks also are closed on national holidays, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, reports Money. Branches of major banks also are closed, including Bank of America, First Citizens, TD Bank, and People’s United. However, bank ATMs and online banking services are available like always.
The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and other major U.S.-based markets are closed for trading on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, too, Money reported.
Many private and public schools close for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but in some states, individual school districts are allowed to determine if students and teachers get the day off. Although museums and visitor’s centers operated by the National Park Service are likely to be closed due to the partial government shutdown.
The popular Lowndes Interpretive Center — which is located on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama — is shuttered during the shutdown. National parks are normally open and usually offer free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but because of the partial government shutdown, many of them are impacted. This includes the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri — and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.
“During the federal government shutdown, we will not monitor or update social media. Some Gateway Arch National Park areas are accessible; however, access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services,” tweeted the Gateway Arch NPS.
The National Park Service has warned that visitor centers at government-operated parks and monuments aren’t in the best shape because of the shutdown. Restrooms may be “unclean and unsanitary, trash bins may be overflowing, and roads may be unplowed and unsafe.”
Most businesses, however, are open today.