Coronavirus forces Black Friday changes

We’re just days out from one of the biggest shopping days of the year and Black Friday will look very different this year.

The pandemic has taken some of the sparkle out of in person shopping.

“With Black Friday, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do,” said shopper Kristi Blake.

Because of rising COVID cases, stores have to limit how many people can be inside. There’s signs to encourage people to keep their distance.

Retailers are also trying to get creative. Like at South Hill Mall in Puyallup, Santa’s still in town - but with a face shield. Instead of sitting on his lap, families will sit 6 feet in front of him for pictures.

“We don’t want to detract from the holiday experience because everybody wants a little bit of normalcy too for this holiday season,” said Rebecca Frisch from South Hill Mall.

Frisch also said the mall will offer extended hours on Black Friday and Super Saturday which is the last Saturday before Christmas.

“It allows them to shop when they want and they don’t have to feel a rush to be here at a certain time to take advantage of a certain offer,” explained Frisch.

A new survey from the NDP Group finds consumers plan to spend an average on $691 on gifting which is 7% less than last year. E-commerce continues to grow – 80% plan to shop online.

“They haven’t been able to take vacations, they haven’t been able to do other things. So a lot of them are actually looking to spend and looking spend on things like their home,” said Professor Mathew Isaac at Seattle University.

Isaac said stores like Target have already been anticipating a very different Black Friday and, instead, have been offering deals throughout the month of November.,

“So they’re realizing they can’t put all their eggs into the basket of one day so they’ve kind of spread things out,” Isaac added.

But it will be tough, he said, for the smaller shops that rely on foot traffic. Which is why some shoppers say that’s where they’ll be spending their cash.