But some stores might still require their employees to work.

By Liz Steelman
Updated October 06, 2016
Mall of America

This Thanksgiving, employees of North America’s biggest shopping complex will have the opportunity to spend the holiday with their families, instead of dealing with bargain-crazy customers. The Mall of America (MOA) announced on October 6 that it will close for Thanksgiving Day 2016. The Bloomington, Minnesota-based mall will reopen for business on Black Friday at 5 a.m. The decision was made to allow their employees to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, according to mall executives.

“In years past we’ve all rallied together to answer the call for 24/7 shopper access that the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend brings. However, it also meant that team members may not have been able to share the day with family and friends. That is why this year we have made the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day so that team members can put that energy where it matters most, into making memories with the people they care about most,” Rick Hoge, executive vice president, and Jill Renslow, senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement on the mall’s website.

But the day off might not actually extend to all of the 15,000 employees who work in the mall. Only the 1,200 employees of Mall of America, such as those who work for guest relations or staffers of the Mall of America souvenir store, are guaranteed the day off. The mall's famous indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe, and its movie theater will also close for the first time in 24 years, according to mall spokesperson Julie Hansen, who spoke to RealSimple.com. However, each of the mall’s 520 individual stores, restaurants, and attractions, gets to decide if they will open for business for the holiday and have their employees report for duty. “Many of the stores are corporately owned, and [the mall] can’t tell them if they can stay open or closed,” Hansen said. “They will decide for themselves.”

Additionally, the mall will have its security staff and other necessary personnel working that day to ensure safety as well as smooth operations for the stores that choose to remain open. In reply to a comment on its Facebook page, MOA stated that this is not out of the ordinary and that their security department works every day. The mall plans to celebrate its staff members who are scheduled or volunteer to work on Thanksgiving with a “fun evening.”

So far, no stores in the mall have announced plans to remain open or closed. The Mall of America has stated that it will keep track of any openings on its website. However, Hansen says the mall hopes that “hardly any” choose to stay open.