COVID-19 alters Black Friday preparation in Hays

BY KERISA BROWN

With COVID-19 reaching peaks both nationally and globally this week, it’s no surprise that holiday shopping is going to look quite different this year from years past.

Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day, marks the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. In years past, Black Friday was a day where shoppers from all over the country would rush into various department stores, shopping malls, Walmart’s, Target’s, etc. searching for the best deals and lowest prices.

The shopping atmosphere in Hays is expected to look a lot different this year, however, considering that many stores in the mall have now implemented changes to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“Usually around Black Friday, we see a tidal wave of customers. This year, we are starting to see that as stores begin to spread out their Black Friday deals throughout several weeks or several days, we estimate that traffic is going to diminish, but it’s going to be spread throughout several days. “ Hays Mall  Commercial Property Manager, James Younger said. 

 As of Monday, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Ellis County has reached 476 cases with an average of 40 new cases per day. With the numbers here at home peaking so close to the holiday season, the Big Creek Crossing mall is taking precautions to ensure that holiday shoppers can get what they need while still staying safe.

“We are abiding by the city of Hays ordinance on the mask mandate. We are sanitizing all touchable surfaces that we possibly can and focusing a lot on cleanliness.” Younger said.

In addition to the city’s rules and the mall’s rules, individual retailers in the mall are implementing their own corporate policies to protect both their customers and sales associates. Stores like Bath and Body Works, Glik’s, and JCPenney have implemented limits to how many customers are allowed inside and put floor dots down at the register to ensure that customers maintain social distancing while at checkout.

Usually Black Friday ramps up when sales start on the night of Thanksgiving, but this year there are many stores that are also choosing to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day in order to give their associates time with their families: Walmart, Bath and Body Works, Glik’s, and JCPenney, just to name a few.

With these new changes in place, many retailers and customers alike are instead shifting their focus to online shopping. If Black Friday isn’t your thing, or if you deem it just too risky this year, there’s always Cyber Monday.

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