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Black Friday amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local retailers prepare for a very different holiday shopping season
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:36 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “Because of the pandemic, of course, things are going to be different,” said CherryVale Mall Marketing Director, Melissa Cavanagh.

After basting the bird and breaking the bread with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day, many Americans usually spend the weekend gobbling up the deals at local retailers. But this year will require extra strategy in order to steer clear of COVID-19.

“We are making socially distanced markers on the floor to make it a very safe and enjoyable environment,” said Cavanagh.

In addition to the 6-ft indicators, CherryVale Mall will extended its store hours and retailers will offer Black Friday deals before and after the big day, hoping to prevent the gathering of big crowds.

Businesses reverted back to Stage 3 of Governor JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan last week. The mall can accommodate more shoppers, but other local retailers just don’t have the space. Disc Replay General Manager, Alex Marquez, says his store will limit in-store traffic to 10 people.

“It’s going to be different, just because the rush isn’t going to be there necessarily,” said Marquez.

Marquez said the buzz of Black Friday will carry on as workers assist in-store and curbside customers. But all retailers we spoke with say they’ll keep health and safety top of mind as they deliver a special holiday experience.

“This year, above all other years, I think we need this even more,” said Cavanagh.

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