This Monday, February 20, marks one of the oft-forgotten banking holidays on the calendar, Presidents’ Day. Originally conceived as a tribute to George Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22), Presidents’ Day always falls on the third Monday of February. The holiday pays tribute to America’s 45 commanders in chief (fun fact: Grover Cleveland served non-consecutive terms; so he is considered both the 22nd and 24th US President).
Though most retail and small businesses remain open on Presidents’ Day, government offices and banks do not operate. Here’s a comprehensive list of which sectors of the economy will remain open or will close their doors during today’s holiday.
The Federal Reserve system typically designates 10 banking holidays per calendar year, including Presidents’ Day. In our modern era of banking, most institutions offer access to ATM machines even on holidays. Online banking is also an option.
One bank that will stay open during the holiday is TD Bank, the company announced.
The New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ will also close trading for the day.
Mail & Shipping
USPS does not deliver residential or business mail on federal holidays. UPS, FedEx, and other individual shipping retailers will deliver today, though.
Nonessential government offices at the federal, state, county and city levels will all close for Presidents’ Day. This list includes the DMV, libraries, courthouses, county clerks, and any other services offered by governments. Both federal and state courts will also be closed.
Small and local businesses may remain open or closed at their own discretion, so make sure to call ahead. Many businesses run special sales on holiday weekends (i.e., mattress companies often run their biggest sale of the year on Presidents’ Day). Big box stores like Costco, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot will all stay open for the holiday.
When did Presidents’ Day become a federal holiday?
The origin of Presidents’ Day lies in the 1880s, when the birthday of Washington was first celebrated as a federal holiday. Later in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which formalized most federal holidays to Mondays, rather than specific days of the month (like Christmas).
Congress wanted to ensure that workers had a number of long weekends throughout the year. At the time, the bill received strong pushback from traditionalists who believed holidays should fall on the dates in which they actually occurred.
While debating the bill, advocates proposed that Washington’s Birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). Interestingly enough, Congress actually rejected the name change, preferring to keep the holiday for Washington, only. But when the bill went into effect in 1971, Presidents’ Day became the commonly accepted name, mostly because retailers used the name to promote sales.