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Commissaries to resume normal hours after furlough days end

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The Defense Department’s cancellation of remaining furlough days will allow commissaries worldwide to resume normal hours after Aug. 17, Defense Commissary Agency officials announced.

All stores were affected by the furlough, either closing one day a week or operating with a reduced staff that, at some locations, caused longer-than-normal checkout times.

The Defense Department’s decision, announced Monday, to cut the number of civilian furlough days from 11 to six will enable stores to return to their regular schedules the week of Aug. 18 to 24, Joseph H. Jeu, DECA’s director and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

The furloughs began July 8 and were taken at the rate of one day a week. That means the sixth and last furlough day for most of the military’s grocery stores will be Aug. 12.

Since the furloughs started, 210 commissaries, including 29 overseas, have been shuttered one day a week.

DECA kept 37 overseas commissaries open during the shutdown by staffing stores with local nationals, who were not subject to the unpaid furlough. Most stores were closed Mondays during the furlough period. More than 14,000 of DECA’s U.S. civilian employees worldwide were affected by the furlough, according to DECA.

With the end of the furlough, Jeu asked that customers be patient as product delivery schedules return to normal.

Customers at some commissaries have been frustrated by long lines and empty shelves.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that our shelves are properly stocked with the products our customers want when they shop,” Jeu was quoted as saying in the release. “However, there will be a short adjustment period as our stores settle back into their pre-furlough operating and delivery routines.”

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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