People are seen walking into Walmart on Wednesday, November 25 in Kenai, Alaska.

People are seen walking into Walmart on Wednesday, November 25 in Kenai, Alaska.

Stores adjust Black Friday shopping to pandemic

National retailers, local businesses and craft fairs will offer sales while emphasizing safety

On what is known for being one of the busiest shopping days of the year, businesses are implementing new COVID-19 mitigation protocols that will allow shoppers to still take advantage of holiday deals. In addition to large retailers, many local businesses are also offering Black Friday deals.

Walmart

In October, Walmart announced that it would be changing its Black Friday operations. One of the measures includes staggering sales across multiple days, with their final sales event beginning Wednesday evening.

On Friday, additional safety protocols will be implemented so that people are able to take advantage of deals safely.

According to the release, Walmart stores will open at 5 a.m. local time on Friday and customers will be asked to form a single straight line in order to enter the store. Walmart associates will hand out sanitized shopping carts to customers in order to help maintain social distancing. “Health ambassadors” will also be stationed at store entrances to greet customers and to enforce mask-wearing.

Additionally, Walmart will monitor the number of customers entering stores to help reduce congestion and promote social distancing while shopping.

“Customers will be directed to shop down the right-hand side of aisles to be able to easily —and safely— select the Black Friday items they’re interested in purchasing,” the release said.

Fred Meyer

Fred Meyer also announced new COVID-19 mitigation measures that people can expect to see on Friday.

According to an Oct. 30 release from Fred Meyer, traffic flow throughout stores will be managed by designating one door as an entrance and one as an exit. Staff will be placed at doors to enforce social distancing, mask-wearing and to monitor capacity limits.

Additionally, gift card giveaways will be awarded via recurring giveaways every 15 minutes, instead of being given to the first 100 customers. This is meant to prevent people from crowding in the morning.

Social distancing measures will be implemented outside of stores, with capacity measures and traffic-flow systems implemented inside the store at popular areas.

“The company has placed a priority on safety throughout the pandemic and has now made deliberate adjustments to Black Friday plans that will allow customers to shop aggressive deals with confidence,” the release said.

Craft fairs and holiday bazaars

The Sterling Community Center is hosting its second annual FallFest Christmas Bazaar and Vendor Fair this Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will feature vendors and local food and drinks, among other things.

The community center is suggesting a one-way flow of foot traffic throughout the building and for all vendors and customers to wear masks and socially distance. Additionally, high-risk individuals are encouraged to avoid large gatherings.

Friday also kicks off Seward’s Shop Small Weekend, which will see more than 50 businesses, makers and pop-up vendors participate.

In addition to in-person shopping over the weekend, the event will feature a live auction on Monday via Facebook Live that will allow people to shop from home.

Sales and events will be offered throughout Seward and individuals must wear face coverings, per an ordinance passed by the Seward City Council that went into effect on Wednesday.

A full list of participating vendors and locations can be found at https://www.seward.com/visitors/shop/.

A Black Friday Christmas Bazaar is being held this Friday through Sunday at the Peninsula Center Mall. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Patrons are encouraged to wear masks, which will be available at the front booth, to use hand sanitizers, which will be available at all booths, and to follow social distancing.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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