Massachusetts ‘Blue Laws’ Remain as More Chains Offer Thanksgiving Day Shopping

Massachusetts stores will be a few hours behind those in some other states when it comes to sales this weekend. That’s because the state bans most retail shops from opening on Thanksgiving, which has become more common for big box stores.

The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards can issue a statewide permit allowing stores to open, but opted against it this year.

“We just decided to continue with past practice,” says the department’s director, Heather Rowe. “We’ve not issued a statewide permit to allow openings on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day since at least 2002.”

There are exceptions to the ban, including gas stations, florists and convenience stores.

A bill introduced in the state legislature this year would allow for wider Thanksgiving shopping, but it has not advanced from committee.

“We support legislation that would change the law to at least allow for Thanksgiving openings,” says Bill Rennie with the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “And it would be optional, not mandatory. And time and a half pay would certainly be part of that package.”

Rennie says some shoppers take their dollars outside Massachusetts to neighboring states for late-night Turkey Day shopping. They can’t go to Maine or Rhode Island though. Those states also prohibit most stores from opening on Thanksgiving.

Photo courtesy of the  Republican and MassLive.