We’ve all heard the term “20/20 vision” where we finally see things a little clearer, and this year has been nothing short of that. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drastically alter lives around the globe, businesses have been forced to adjust their practices that will change the way we shop, especially on Black Friday.

While local and national governments alike are implementing harsher restrictions on both indoor and outdoor gatherings, we can still celebrate the holidays in a new (socially distanced) way.

Black Friday shopping this year has commenced earlier than normal, with most stores starting their sales as early as October and continuing into December. Stores are also not going to be open on Thanksgiving Day to prevent large lines and the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, most sales are online this year, with the typical “in-store only” specials drastically decreased to reduce the number of in-store shoppers. However, Black Friday deals are significantly better in most stores due to the economic recession to encourage people to partake in their usual shopping traditions without doing damage to their wallets.

While it’s important to shop small businesses all year round, those who plan on shopping this Black Friday need to keep in mind that they might not get the same discounts as they did last year. When shopping small, local businesses this holiday season, remember to implement a budget and buy items for other occasions throughout the year if you can afford it (i.e., birthdays, graduations, and even weddings).

Some stores will be open on Black Friday, but don’t expect the same close crowds as in other years. Social distancing and mask wearing will still be enforced, as well as a limit on how many customers can enter the store, so expect lines to be longer than normal this year. Retailers are also implementing virtual check-in systems that alert shoppers when they can enter a store if it’s already at the limited capacity.

While your favorite stores may be open on Black Friday, it’s important now more than ever to do all of your shopping online if you can to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Order your gifts as soon as possible to ensure that you will receive them on time and that there will be enough for each special person in your life.

If you’re still inclined to go Black Friday shopping in person this year, make sure you wear a mask, stay six feet apart from others (if possible), wash your hands frequently, and get tested after your shopping excursion has come to an end. Stay safe and have a happy holiday season!

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Gabrielle Sheehan
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