With so many restaurants and businesses closing around the Hudson Valley, shoppers have found themselves stuck gift cards they can't spend.

In February we shared our list of the top five gift cards you should use now, from businesses that may likely close in 2020. Since then, a few on our list have shut down, making it more difficult to use those cards if you still have them.

The good news is that just because a local business closes doesn't necessarily mean that your card is no good.  Here's the good (and bad) news about gift cards from some businesses that have recently closed in the Hudson Valley.

Bonefish Grill
This week Bonefish Grill surprised customers by suddenly shutting their doors with no warning. We heard from listeners who were not only shocked but angry that they had just purchased gift cards to use as Father's Day presents. The good news is that those cards are still valid, and you can actually use them right here in the Hudson Valley. Bonefish Grill is owned by the same parent company as Outback Steakhouse. And, yes, you can use your gift card at any of their locations, as well.

J.C. Penney
The Poughkeepsie J.C. Penney store announced this week that they will be closing down for good. While you'll still be able to use your gift cards as the store liquidates their inventory, there's another option that not many people know about. J.C. Penney gift cards may also be redeemable at select Rite Aid stores. You can also use the card at Sephora.com, but not in store. And, of course, you can still shop at J.C. Penney's website.

Pier 1
If you're holding onto a Pier 1 gift card, you need to use it immediately. According to the company, those gift cards will only be accepted on their website until July 2. In store use expires 30 days after the first day the store has opened from the coronavirus shutdown. After that the cards will be invalid.

Applebees and Ruby Tuesday's
These two restaurant chains have been closing Hudson Valley locations, sticking diners with gift cards. Unfortunately, neither chain allows cardholders to use their balance anywhere else. Applebees is owned by the same company as IHOP, but cards from each restaurant can only be used at the chain it was purchased for.

Sears
With the Poughkeepsie Sears location now closed, anyone holding on to a gift card should spend it as soon as possible. Land's End no longer accepts Sears gift cards as payment. According to their website, the cards are only redeemable at Sears or K-Mart. While those stores aren't around anymore, both of their websites will accept the cards for purchases.

Locally owned small businesses
Unfortunately, many of the businesses that have been closing are independently owned local businesses. Those stores have their own policies on gift certificate redemption after a closure is announced. Because they usually only have one location, cards are useless when one of these businesses shuts down.

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