February 18, 2018
by in History
It’s Presidents Day: What’s Open? What’s Closed? And it’s Officially Called Washington’s Birthday

No matter what you call it, Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday is a national holiday so check what is open or closed.

We cannot tell a lie. The national holiday observed in the U.S. on the third Monday of February is not officially called Presidents Day. Officially, it is Washington’s Birthday (although some states refer to it as Presidents Day).


If you are old enough, you may recall that until 1978, Americans celebrated Washington’s Birthday by eating a cherry pie on February 22 each year. Of course, the cherry pie was a reference to the Father of our Nation’s inability to tell a lie, therefore confessing to his father that he did, indeed, chop down the cherry tree. (Okay, it is a myth, but we still like the pie.)

The usage of the name “Presidents Day” started slowly in 1978 with the start of the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act.” The Act moved Washington’s Birthday (February 22), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (November 11) from fixed dates to designated Mondays, and established as a federal holiday Columbus Day—which had previously been celebrated in some states on October 12—to a designated Monday.

The Act was designed to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees, a favorite goal of the travel industry. (In 1978, Veterans Day was removed from the list of “always-on-Monday” holidays when Congress moved it back to its traditional date of November 11.)

The Act did not officially (or even unofficially) establish “Presidents Day”, nor did it combine the observance of Lincoln’s Birthday with Washington’s Birthday. That misperception stems from the act’s shift of Washington’s “birthday” to the week of February 15 to 21. Since that week always falls between Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) and Washington’s (February 22) but never includes either date, the term “Presidents Day” has slowly become the norm.

And over time, what were once Washington’s Birthday Sales have become President’s Day Sales.

No matter what you call it, it’s still a national holiday. What’s opened and closed on February 19, 2018?

Mailing and Shipping

The United States Postal Service will not deliver mail on Presidents Day, but UPS and FedEx will operate as usual.


Most banks will be closed, including Federal Reserve Banks.


Most public schools will be closed to observe the federal holiday, and many private schools will do the same. Some schools might be in session to make up for weather-related cancellations.

Stock markets

The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and bond markets will be closed.


Trash pickup will vary from town-to-town. Check with your local provider.


Courts will not be in session.

Retail stores and shops

Most department stores and retail shops will be open, many offering Presidents Day sales. Most restaurants will also remain open.

Grocery stores

Most grocery stores will be open.


Call or check online.


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