The year 2020 will go down in the history books as one with many changes, including mask mandates, virtual education and online grocery pickup. With these changes, Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving in which many people go hunting for holiday bargains, will be different this year. Many big-box retailers and local businesses have changed their normal plans.
The uncertainty of Black Friday lasted until around Oct. 14 when Walmart. announced in a press release their plans for a month-long Black Friday beginning Nov. 4. In the weeks following, on Oct. 29, Target announced their month-long Black Friday starting Nov. 1.
Alongside these two main retailers, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and Kohls announced similar plans.
In summary of each press release, the overall goal is to spread traffic throughout the month to ensure safety for the shoppers. J.C. Penney was explicit with its plans for health safety.
“As stores experience increased foot traffic, associates will consistently enforce store capacity limits and social distancing within line queues in addition to numerous safety precautions already in place, including requiring face coverings, diligently cleaning stores with a focus on high-touch areas and holding back returned and tried-on merchandise from the selling floor overnight,” the J.C. Penney press release said.
Reducing traffic will be achieved by spreading the types of deals offered each week.
Just as big-box stores are making changes, local businesses like MarGorgeous Boutique, located on W. Republic Road in Springfield, are making changes. On Nov. 7, the boutique began the holiday shopping season with an open house.
Margo Smith, co-owner of MarGorgeous Boutique, said her business is still planning on having Black Friday sales.
“We plan those specials over a month in advance,” Smith said. “Our customers have come to expect those specials, so we decided not to change our Black Friday sale.”
However, the boutique has procedures in place to deal with COVID-19. There is increased sanitation throughout the store and handles and high touch areas are frequently cleaned.
“We require masks to shop and have several signs that they are required,” Smith said. “Additionally, we took away the kids toy area so that germs would not be transmitted via toys. We also turned the signing feature off our register to minimize contact.”
The COVID-19 shutdown in March provided unique challenges for MarGorgeous’ that many big-box stores did not have to deal with, as they were considered essential.
“COVID-19 shut us down for a month, and it was very scary because we still had to pay our bills,” Smith said. “Thankfully, we have loyal customers that supported us through it. COVID-19 has affected inventory availability and has raised the cost of goods and shipping costs.”
Although this holiday season will look very different, as of publication, there is no lockdown in the Springfield area, according to the Greene County Health Department. With this, there are options to shop while still getting deals and staying safe.