Commissary customers can expect their stores to start closing on Mondays as early as July 8.
To implement the Defense Department’s civilian workforce furloughs, all 247 stores will have to close one extra day per week. Commissaries that are usually closed on Mondays will be closed on Tuesdays as well.
Defense officials did give DeCA did some relief from the ongoing civilian hiring freeze, allowing stores to hire outside workers if staffing levels fall below 90 percent.
“With this exception, we should be able to handle normal operating days,” said DeCA spokesman Kevin Robinson. “However, we will still be challenged on busy Saturdays and Sundays.”
DoD has required most of its activities to furlough employees for up to 11 days — one day each week — by Sept. 30, in response to automatic federal budget cuts triggered by sequestration on March 1.
Congress and the White House still could come up with a solution to end sequestration. There are 13 Mondays between July 8 and Sept. 30, and it is expected the furloughs will start July 8 and continue for 11 consecutive weeks. Over the last several months, defense officials have reduced the number of furlough days from 22 days to 11.
Officials decided on Monday closures because it would be less disruptive than having rolling furlough days that differed from one store to another.
No other changes to store operating hours are planned, officials said.
As the expected closure dates get closer, customers should check their local store’s operating schedule online.
Some overseas stores may be open Mondays if they have enough local national employees, who are exempt from the furloughs. If their store is closed, however, local national staff will still be required to report to work and perform other store-related duties.