(The Center Square) — Washington state and federal offices will be closed Monday in observance of Juneteenth, the holiday added to the federal calendar last year by President Joe Biden.
The holiday, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, originated in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, when U.S. troops announced the end of slavery in Texas and began to enforce emancipation there.
The holiday falls on Sunday and is generally observed on Monday this year.
Walmart, Walgreens and CVS locations will be open on Monday, though hours may be adjusted.
Target, Best Buy and Starbucks retail locations will be open on Monday, though it is an official holiday at those companies. Starbucks workers who work on Monday will receive holiday pay.
Starbucks instituted the corporate holiday in 2020.
“Starbucks is now recognizing June 19th as a company holiday in order to honor this important day in our nation’s history, and recognize the significance this day holds for our Black partners, customers and communities we serve,” the company said in a statement.
Microsoft, Costco and Kaiser Permanente have given employees a floating holiday that can be used on Juneteenth or another day according to published reports. The holiday is not observed at Boeing.
Most banks will be closed, but electronic banking will be available. However, since the Federal Reserve will be closed, no wire transfers will be processed on Monday. U.S. stock markets will be closed on Monday, the first year Wall St. will observe the holiday.
US Bank began Juneteenth observance in 2020.
“The events of the past few weeks have changed the conversation and added a sense of urgency that has motivated more people across the globe to act to address social injustice. That begins with acknowledging our rich and diverse history,” CEO Andy Cecere said at the time, referring to events surrounding the death of George Floyd. “We are encouraging our employees to use this time to serve in our communities, commit to inclusion and advocacy, or simply educate themselves on this very important topic.”
States are not required to close operations on federal holidays. Washington is one of 18 states to observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state workers.
Observance of the day is growing, however. Nearly 44% of workers responded to a Randstad USA survey saying they will have the holiday off, which is 11% more than last year according to a Bloomberg report.
Juneteenth has long been observed by many African Americans and was declared a holiday in Texas in 1980. New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania created Juneteenth as a statewide holiday in 2020.
The following Whatcom County agencies and organizations have announced they are observing Juneteenth and will be closed Monday.
- US Post Offices
- City of Bellingham
- City of Ferndale (City Council meeting moved to Tuesday)
- City of Nooksack
- Whatcom County Government
- Whatcom County Library System branches will be closed both Sunday and Monday, June 19th and 20th
Whatcom Transportation Authority buses will be running on their normal schedules and routes.
All Sanitary Service Company routes will be on their regular schedule.
Please contact Whatcom News if you would like your agency, business or organization added to this list.