Black Friday is a tradition for many, but that may look different this year as the decision to go out and shop puts both shoppers and retailers at risk of contracting coronavirus.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 190 million people shopped Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year. Although that number is expected to drop, many people are still potentially showing up to the stores to look for the best deals.
Those deciding to venture out and leave their home will have to accommodate to health regulations to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Most Bay Area counties are under the restrictive coronavirus purple tier, which means stores can only be at 25% capacity. In addition, retailers are also taking other measures to make customers feel safer.
Several major retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy decided to close on Thanksgiving, which is usually the day people start lining up outside the store.
Mall chains are taking extra steps to keep shoppers safe by placing social distancing placards throughout shopping areas, installing additional hand sanitizing stations and some are even urging shoppers to use mobile reservation stations.
However, the risk remains as many retailers and shoppers are interacting face to face. Some businesses have resorted to private contact tracing companies to alert shoppers via mobile if there were exposed to someone with coronavirus.
"We’re seeing this around the country – there’s this balance between health agencies getting this information and privacy but again, we’re disrupting that by merely providing this name or merely a nickname and a way to contact you and literally it doesn’t even go to us," said Justin Beck from Contakt World.
The best advice to avoid contracting the virus is to stay home if you can. Some retailers have decided to extend their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for the rest of the week.