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Thanksgiving Retail Banned in MA

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) -You’ve probably seen the national commercials saying that you can start your Black Friday shopping at 8 P.M. on Thanksgiving. You’ve also probably also seen signs saying that in Massachusetts, that won’t be the case.

Bay state Blue Laws keep that from happening. They were drafted in the Colonial era by Puritan church members to regulate public activities on Sundays.

Due to the Blue Laws, prior to 1994, retail stores couldn’t open before noon.

Now the legislation is enforced by the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division prohibiting businesses from opening on certain holidays.

Folks here in Western Mass don’t think the laws are antiquated at all. “I think people should be allowed to be with their family on Thanksgiving, and I don’t think that’s because of a Blue Law. I think that’s what business practices should choose that,” said Ginny Lee of Huntington. “I used to work in retail and it stinks to work on the holidays. I think it’s really important. Especially for Thanksgiving that was started as a holiday for Americans to be together with family. I think the laws are important to protect the workers,” Juliana Bondor said.

That means folks in Massachusetts just have to wait a few more hours to battle Black Friday lines.

There are other restricted holidays businesses can’t open before noon on Columbus Day, or before Veteran’s Day before 1 P.M., unless they have a permit. “The Department of Labor Standards has to approve each local business that wants to stay open on holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Rhode Island is the only other state in the nation to enforce Blue Laws on Thanksgiving.


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