Black Friday is a November tradition for many. But during a pandemic, the retail holiday will be different.
Many stores have decided to shut down and not participate to avoid the spread of the virus. Other stores have decided to offer Black Friday deals throughout the entire month of November.
Several stores will host Black Friday sales online for those who don’t want to shop in person as well, following precautions after the governor’s announcement about Thanksgiving guidelines and restrictions.
Maddie Cushing, a junior communication major with a minor in psychology, said she will not be going Black Friday shopping in-store in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we have a responsibility to one another right now, and I would feel selfish and irresponsible to indulge myself and go shop on such a historically crowd-filled day,” Cushing said. “However, I do want to score some deals this holiday season and online shopping is a beautiful thing.”
Cushing usually spends her Black Friday hitting all her favorite stores and sipping on Starbucks with her cousins while snagging holiday deals. Although this year will be different for Cushing and her cousins, they said they’ll continue to stay optimistic about online shopping on Black Friday.
“I usually go with all of my extended family,” Cushing said. ”My cousin joked this year that we’ll have to do a family Zoom call while we all sit on Amazon.”
Similarly, other students are looking to online shopping this Black Friday.
KC Carter said she will shop online this year becuase she doesn’t like crowds, especially during a pandemic. However, there were other factors that also played a role in Carter’s decision.
“COVID-19 has greatly impacted every aspect of my year,” said Carter, a junior communication major. “Shopping for the holidays is no exception. My family and I are high risk and have been quarantined since March, so the crowds of Black Friday do not sound inviting. My financial situation has also been impacted as my mom and I both lost our jobs, which has affected our normal spending habits.”
Black Friday all month
Many stores understand that many shoppers will find their Black Friday deals online from the comfort of their own homes. Many stores are extending deals to online shoppers, due to many elderly and high risk customers not wanting to shop in-store.
To help individuals who may not like shopping online, many stores have implemented monthlong deals in-store to prevent crowding on Black Friday.
“I really like that stores are spreading out the deals this year,” Carter said. “Not only does it give you more time to plan specific purchases, it also keeps the crowd in stores down as they spread out their visits throughout the month, lowering the risks of COVID-19.”
Cushing agreed, noting these Black Friday deals may be crucial for many families who rely on deals to celebrate their holidays with gifts.
“I’m glad stores are giving their Black Friday deals throughout the month of November, because I know how important those prices are for so many families,” Cushing said. “In some ways it’s almost better, because I feel like people will buy less indulgently and everyone will have a chance to get items that would normally be out of stock.”
Covid-19 Concern In Rising Numbers
This comes as the U.S. is reporting record COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks — causing an increase in restrictions to keep people home and safe.
After issuing a state of emergency Nov. 8, Gov. Gary Herbert ended Utah’s two-week ban on inter-household gatherings just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Since then, the Governor advised it would be safest to celebrate Thanksgiving separately this year, only gathering with those who live in the same household. However, this leaves the risk people are going to get together with family and friends despite the recommendations.
The governor recommended if family and friends do meet, they gather in an open area where they are able to stay six feet apart with good airflow.
Many people are concerned that although there is some wiggle room with Thanksgiving, the COVID-19 numbers are bound to rise — especially after the waves of Black Friday shopping.
Both Cushing and Carter said they are concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases after the Black Friday rush is over.
“I think COVID numbers will definitely be influenced by the amount of people who go out shopping this Black Friday,” Cushing said. “Our behavior this holiday season is going to be vital to how this pandemic is handled, and to be honest, I’m not optimistic.”
Carter also expressed her concern, noting the increase in cases has changed her holiday plans.
“I do think that Black Friday and Thanksgiving will cause an increase in COVID cases,” she said. ”Which is a big part of the reason I’m staying home this year.”