Black Friday shopping around southwest, central Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The coronavirus pandemic is changing everything about holiday celebrations this year, and holiday shopping is no exception.

From retailers adding more online shopping deals to making adjustments for social distancing in brick-and-mortar stores, this year will look a little different if you plan to shop on Black Friday.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, we won’t see a sea of shoppers outside crowded stores.

Shoppers in the United States are expected to spend $160 billion this quarter, which is up 5% from last year. Experts say the increase could be because people were saving money while quarantining.

Researchers also estimate Americans will ship items to 18 percent more people, but Amazon says it’s ready to handle the rush.

As for retailers that are open on Black Friday, they are taking extra precautions to keep this year’s shoppers safe.

“We definitely have taken extra precautions, and so have our retailers,” said Stacey Keating, a representative for Valley View Mall. “We have enhanced our cleaning protocols with an enhanced focus on touchpoints throughout the mall common area. Our security team will be going through the mall and making sure people are wearing masks, providing masks to those who don’t have them, and breaking up large groups that might gather.”

Keating also says some retailers have extended Black Friday deals so people can shop when they are most comfortable.

Uptown Christiansburg is also working to keep both employees and shoppers safe from the virus by proving hand sanitizer throughout the mall, encouraging masks and social distancing, keeping high touchpoints clean, etc.

However, according to Tina Waugh, the Uptown Christiansburg Marketing Manager, even during a pandemic, holiday traditions will continue at the mall this year, such as visits from Santa Claus, the Salvation Army Angel Tree, the Good Samaritan Hospice “Love Light Tree,” and the MCEAP “Wrapping for a Reason” booth.

If you do plan on going out for some Black Friday shopping or other holiday activities, health experts stress that you follow social distancing guidelines, wear a face covering, and carry hand sanitizer.

Here is a list of the hours for the shopping malls — although select store and restaurant hours may vary — around southwest and central Virginia on Friday, Nov. 27:

A number of major retailers in the area are also offering special hours in honor of Black Friday:

  • Belk: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Best Buy: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., with curbside pickup open until 11 p.m.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., with curbside pickup open until 9 p.m.
  • GameStop: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in limited capacity, so check with store for more information
  • JCPenney: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Macy’s: 5 a.m. to midnight, with curbside pickup open until 8 p.m.
  • Target: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Walmart: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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