Target, P.C. Richard and Son and the Tanger Outlets all voluntarily close Thanksgiving, and if County Executive Steve Levy has his way, all other major retailers in Suffolk will be required to do the same.
Mr. Levy has proposed legislation requiring stores larger than 7,500 square feet to be closed from noon to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, starting next year. The law would not apply to food and entertainment businesses.
“Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday that is uniquely distinguished as a family day,” Mr. Levy said in a press release. “Certain stores do not recognize some employees’ need to take time off from work, so this legislation is designed to help preserve an aspect of Thanksgiving that makes it such a special, bonding occasion.”
The bill calls for fines for violations of up to $1,500.
Greg Richard, the president of P.C. Richard & Son called the proposed legislation, “a wonderful thing.”
None of the company’s 65 electronics and appliance showrooms has ever opened its doors on Thanksgiving, Mr. Richard said. Since 1995 the company has run pre-holiday ads explaining why.
“There are certain things that are more important than money and one of them is family values,” Mr. Richard said. “Retailers who choose to open show no respect for their employees and families, and are in total disrespect of family values. You wonder if the executives of those large companies are working on Thanksgiving. More likely they’re sitting home enjoying time with their families while their employees are working.”
Wal-Mart stores are among those open on Thanksgiving. Company spokesman Phil Serghini said he could not comment on the Levy bill because it involves businesses other than Wal-Mart.
County Legislator Ed Romaine, who doesn’t often agree with Mr. Levy, supports this bill.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” the legislator said. “We could not agree more. We should respect national and religious holidays to allow people to have a day off and enjoy the holiday with their families.”