Time Zones & Business Hours in the USA

Time Zones & Business Hours in the USA

The United States is a wide country with seven time zones. There are four time zones in the continental United States, each separated by one hour. When it is noon in New York City, is only 11:00 AM in Dallas, 10:00 AM in Denver, and 9:00 AM in San Francisco.

  • Eastern Time (ET)
    Major cities: Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami
    9.5 hours behind India 

  • Central Time (CT)
    Major cities: Dallas, Houston, Chicago
    10.5 hours behind India 

  • Mountain Time (MT)
    Major cities: Denver 
    11.5 hours behind India 

  • Pacific Time (PT)
    Major cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle 
    12.5 hours behind India

US Time Zone Map

Daylight Savings

As suggested by the name, the time is changed back and forth by one hour twice a year so maximum daylight can be used during the different seasons. The sun rises very early in the summer; therefore, at the end of winter, just before spring officially starts, the clock is set forward by one hour. Daylight Savings Time (DST) moves one hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. That way, all activities start one hour earlier and maximum daylight can be used until later in the evening. Many people also get a chance to go out, play sports, etc., after work and enjoy the summer weather.

You should set the clock back by one hour on the first Sunday of November during the fall season and set the clock forward by one hour on the second Sunday of March (used to be April) during the spring season. Even though these are the general rules, in recent years, the government has changed the dates every now and then. 

Remember the phrase: SPRING AHEAD, FALL BACK. 

The time actually changes at 2:00 AM local time. It becomes 3:00 AM in the spring and 1:00 AM in the fall. However, as a practical matter, most people can just change the clocks before going to sleep the previous night or in the morning after getting up. 

Please note that there are several regions in the U.S. that do not change the time, such as Arizona (except a small portion in Northwest Arizona called Navajo Indian Reservation). Also, the state of Hawaii and the regions like America Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island do not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Until 2006, most of the state of Indiana didn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. However, they follow the time according to the Eastern time zone (except a small portion near Chicago that includes cities like Gary and a small portion in the south near Kentucky that follow the Central time zone).

Business hours

Banks: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM weekdays and 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Saturday. This may vary.
Post offices: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM and 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Saturday. This may vary. 

Stores generally open early in the east coast and are open later and later as you go towards the west coast. Some stores may not open until 10 or 11 a.m., but they often stay open until 6, 8, or even 10 p.m. Large shopping malls are open every day until around 9:00 PM with the exception of Sunday when they close at either 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM.

Convenience stores that sell food and other necessary items may be open 24 hours a day or late into the night.

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