Boston-area Stores Defy Blue Laws, Open on Holiday

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Boston-area Stores Defy Blue Laws, Open on Holiday

BOSTON--Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly will investigate reports of stores that opened illegally on Thanksgiving Day, as several Boston-area supermarkets defied a centuries old law and opened their doors to shoppers, reported the Associated Press.

"Every employer should know the law," David Guarino, Reilly’s spokesman, told The Boston Globe . "If these stores want to open, there’s a way to do it: Change the law."

If the laws were to be lifted, it would negatively impact convenience stores that are exempt from the holiday closing rule. On holidays, c-stores are able to benefit from emergency shopping with the majority of their competitors closed for business.

The law enforced by Reilly is part of the so-called Massachusetts Blue Laws. Many of the Puritan-era laws, passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays, have been repealed, such as a ban of liquor sales on Sundays. But one that remains in effect requires all stores, except convenience stores and gas stations, to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Last week, Reilly’s office told the Whole Foods supermarkets chain it could not stay open on Thanksgiving after a competitor complained. Reilly also warned Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and Big Lots not to open, even as many stores across the country got an early start to the holiday shopping season, according to the report.

Six Boston-area Super 88 Market stores opened up for business on Thanksgiving, despite the Blue Laws, the Globe reported.