On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a bill declaring Juneteenth, or June 19, as a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
In recognition of the new holiday, many federal and state agencies will be closed.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management stated “most federal employees” would observe the holiday on Friday.” However, mail services will continue to run on both Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19.
“Unfortunately, it is not possible to cease the operations of the Postal Service to accommodate an observance [of Juneteenth] over the next 24-48 hours,” the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said in a statement. “Closing down our operations without providing appropriate time would lead to operational disruptions and be a disservice to our customers and those who rely upon us.”
USPS is expected to discuss future recognition of the holiday for 2022.
In accordance with Governor Ivey’s proclamation declaring Juneteenth an Alabama state holiday, all state offices, including driver’s license offices, will be closed on June 18, “except those in areas where it is essential to maintain personnel.”
State employees who are required to work the new holiday are expected to receive time off afterwards.
Redstone Arsenal announced via Twitter that all installation gates would transition to holiday gate hours for Friday, June 18, but return to normal operations the following morning. The statement said Gates 8 and 9 will operate as normal, while gates 1, 3, and 7 will be closed. Limited services including AAFES Post Exchange and Express locations, The Links at Redstone, Outdoor Recreation, and the Goss Road pool will be open. Fox Army Health Center will be closed.
The Alabama Department of Public Health Central Office in Montgomery will be closed. However, county health departments across north Alabama will operate under the following constraints:
- DeKalb, Etowah – Open for scheduled COVID-19 vaccination clinics
- Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan – Open with minimum staff
According to alnd.uscourts.gov, all courthouses in the Northern District of Alabama will be closed on Friday, June 18.
However, Presiding Madison County Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall said county government (such as the tag office) will be open.
At this time, it appears most banks will be open, but call ahead to ensure hours of operation.
At the corporate level, several retailers and tech giants will observe the holiday including Target, Nike, J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Apple, Spotify, Facebook, and many more.
Juneteenth stems from the last liberation of enslaved Black people in Galveston Texas on June 19, 1865 — two months after the Confederacy surrendered and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
This is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.