But the introduction of a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States has created a patchwork of responses — leaving some government offices, schools and businesses open, while others close to observe the holiday.
“Agencies should direct such employees to not report to work on Friday — unless the agency determines that their services are required. If employees are required to work during qualifying holiday hours, they will earn holiday premium pay,” the US Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday in a memo.
A meeting of vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was scheduled for Friday was also rescheduled because of the Juneteenth holiday.
While June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, governors across the country announced in quick succession a range of plans for their state offices Friday, the closest workday to the new holiday.
Maryland, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia and Alabama are giving most public employees the day off, joining states like Texas, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, which had already made Juneteenth a paid state holiday.
Some of the largest colleges and universities, like Ohio State and Texas A&M, are closed and have canceled classes for the day.
Several colleges, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, Virginia Tech, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Towson University, Drake University, Loyola Marymount University, started honoring Juneteenth as a university holiday in 2020. Those colleges are continuing the tradition this year, observing the holiday with a day off Friday.
What is remaining open
The United States Postal Service is still operating Friday and Saturday on a normal schedule.
Government workers in other states, like California, will have to wait to feel the effect of the new law.
“It is encouraging to see bipartisan efforts to recognize the importance of Juneteenth,” a spokesperson for California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said in a statement. “The Governor issues a proclamation each year to celebrate this important day. At the state level, establishing a holiday usually requires legislation and collective bargaining.”
Some public school districts are closed, with many already on summer break. In Maryland, for example, Montgomery County public schools, which ended the school year Wednesday, and its offices are closed Friday to observe Juneteenth, while Baltimore County public schools remain open Friday, with their last day scheduled for next week.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that Juneteenth would be observed Friday but “due to the short notice, City Hall will remain open with minimal staffing to continue providing services.”
In New York City, public schools and most government offices are open Friday. City employees do not have a paid holiday despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise last year to make Juneteenth an official city holiday.
During a radio interview on WNYC Friday, de Blasio said his administration still has to negotiate with the city’s unions about how to pay for “the impact of the holiday,” but that schools will be closed on Juneteenth when the holiday falls on a weekday.
US corporate employees at Apple have Friday off, as do employees of Lyft and Peloton. Other companies, like Google, struck a middle ground, eliminating meetings on Friday in honor of the holiday.
Nikes’ retail stores and distribution centers are also closed on Saturday.
While the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Board’s offices in DC are closed Friday, the stock markets and the Fed’s financial services are open.
This story and headline have been updated with additional information.
Asia Despatch’s Chauncey Alcorn, Laura Ly and Lila Watts contributed to this report.