Black Friday Looks Different This Year But Deals Remain

Samantha Bender, News Editor

During any other holiday season, stores would be at their peak and busier than ever. But with a recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country, this year looks a bit different. 

It is no secret that Black Friday has been a part of American culture for years, bringing about massive crowds at stores just hours after Thanksgiving. According to the National Retail Federation, 164 million consumers planned to shop online or in-store over Thanksgiving weekend 2018. 

But this year, only 36 percent of Americans say they plan to shop in-person on Black Friday, reported by Suzy, a real-time market research platform. 

Though some major retailers will not be open for Thanksgiving this year, they are staying quiet on their plans for Black Friday. 

Some of the stores that will be closed for Thanksgiving include Bath And Body Works, Bed Bath And Beyond, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Macy’s.

Bath And Body Works announced on its website that its stores will be closed “so our associates can stay home and celebrate with their families.” In that same statement, they also confirmed their plan for Black Friday. 

It included customers will receive exclusive in-store pricing from Nov. 23-25, and then Black Friday deals will go online only for Thanksgiving Day before resuming in stores and online on Nov. 27.

Wethersfield resident, Ariana Persson, was upset to learn many stores won’t be open for a traditional Black Friday.

“It’s definitely disappointing. Black Friday is something I look forward to doing with my family every year. It’s one of my favorite traditions,” Persson said. “But I do think it’s for the best, especially because COVID cases have been going up.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she noted.

Though some stores won’t be open to shoppers in person, the deals aren’t canceled. 

Amazon’s Black Friday sale officially kicked off on Friday, Nov. 20, a full week before Black Friday, with Best Buy continuing to offer their own early Black Friday deals as well. 

But a handful of retailers will still remain open on Thanksgiving, including CVS, Dollar General, Walgreens, Big Lots and Cabela’s. 

Central student Tyler Healey is making the most out of the new reality for this holiday season. 

“Unfortunately these are the new times we’re living in. On a positive note, it will give everyone more time to spend with their families and focus on what’s really important during the holidays,” Healey said. “Stores are doing their best to stay afloat right now and I give them props for that. I can’t even imagine how challenging the pandemic has been on them.”

Shoppers are urged that if attending Black Friday sales in person to do so with caution, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified shopping at stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving to be a high-risk activity to avoid due to the large crowds. 

The safest and suggested method is online shopping this year due to the dangers of the  pandemic.