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Black Friday holiday sales start earlier every year with many retail stores opening on Thanksgiving night to give shoppers a head start.
Well, finally, we can point to a positive change resulting from the pandemic. Austin-based coupon consolidator RetailMeNot compiled a list of two dozen national retailers that do not plan to open on Thanksgiving day, mostly in response to a lack of demand. RetailMeNot survey results suggest 88% of shoppers do not plan to do in-store shopping for Black Friday deals.
Not surprisingly, it was Walmart that started the trend of opening before Black Friday. But it was also the mega big-box retailer that first made the call to close its 4,000 U.S. stores—including seven in Austin—on Thanksgiving this year.
Here are the other national businesses keeping doors closed on Turkey Day 2020 (Nov. 26 this year):
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Foot Locker
- The Home Depot
- Lamps Plus
- Office Depot/OfficeMax
- Simon Property Group
- The Outlet Resource Group
However, many stores are still opening for Black Friday in-person sales—but not as many as usual. RetailMeNot compiled a list of national shops that have confirmed plans for the biggest shopping day of the year. Many business chains are letting local stores make the call based on COVID-19 spread in their respective area.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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Is it just us, or is the current Austin mask situation confusing? Are we supposed to wear a mask or not, and where? And should we wear one anyway, even if not requested or required?
Austin health orders requiring masks expire Tuesday. What then?
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