COVID-19 threatens safety of Black Friday


Making Purchases During Covid-19/Anrita1705/Pixabay

People are shopping carefully and abiding by COVID-19 safety guidelines. “When I go shopping, there is a little voice in my head saying, ‘What if it’s dangerous or what if something goes wrong?’ But we can take extra precautions by using hand sanitizer, wearing two masks, eating outside, and following social distancing rules,” said Alexia Stevenson, a sophomore.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the world and forced the sales industry to operate abnormally. Instead of an unlimited shopping experience, crucial restrictions will be implemented for this upcoming Black Friday on Nov. 27.

According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is an annual sales extravaganza that occurs on the day after Thanksgiving. On this day, most stores offer significant discounts that attract large crowds and chaos. According to the National Retail Federation, 84.2 million Americans shopped in-person on Black Friday in 2019.

For sophomore Alexia Stevenson, going Black Friday shopping is routine. 

“I normally spend Black Friday with a couple of friends, and we go to Valley Fair Mall. It’s a tradition,” Stevenson said. “We go shopping until we drop.”

Keira Lyman, an assistant store manager at Aldo, described her previous experiences working as a sales employee on Black Friday.

“Usually on Black Friday, it gets super busy in here [Aldo], and the store is pretty packed. Usually, the whole mall is packed. Anyone can come in the mall, and we don’t have a limit on the number of people that can enter,” Lyman said.

Due to the massive crowds it brings, Black Friday poses a considerable risk for spreading COVID-19. This year, stores will be enacting new precautions and following national regulations.

Lyman outlined the new precautions that Aldo is taking to keep clients and employees safe while shopping.

“For my store, we are having a limit on how many people can enter. We will have a line station at the front of the store, and we will have a line outside of our store, with one employee letting people in,” Lyman said.

Although stores are enforcing safety measures, some customers may find them difficult to follow. Freshman Sarah Shalita expressed her concerns about this aspect of Black Friday.

“I’m worried about social distancing. I think social distancing will be hard for some people, as I know many people don’t follow those social distancing rules,” Shalita said. “I think Black Friday is going to be a really big safety risk if the same amount of people that usually go shopping attend this year. That’s a lot of people in one place, especially if they don’t social distance.”

When people disregard social distancing guidelines, the spread of COVID-19 increases. Lyman glanced into the future, voicing her predictions about this year’s Black Friday.

“I feel like social distancing may be a problem because the mall is going to be really busy. But, at least for our store, we are trying to avoiding crowding in here to limit and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Lyman said.

Stevenson noted that Black Friday shopping can still happen if everyone follows safety guidelines and takes necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We can still have fun Black Friday shopping while being safe,” Stevenson said.