Interview: How COVID-19 is changing the Black Friday experience


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — From online-only shopping, curbside pickup and limited indoor capacity, Black Friday will look different this year amid COVID-19.

“It’s going to be a different season,” said Rachel Michelin, president and CEO of the California Retailers Association. “We’re under some new guidelines, so we are working hard to make sure it’s a safe shopping environment. I think you’ll notice it’s not Black Friday; it’s more like Black November.”

Michelin said the association is encouraging people to stay safe, wear masks and be patient if shopping in-person.

Total consumer spending is up nationally, particularly with seasonal sales, and Michelin added she expects that trend to continue this year.

“I think retail therapy is real,” Michelin said. “I think especially now as we’re stuck at home, shopping is a great outlet … it brings a little bit of normalcy back.”

And with people skipping out on big holiday gatherings and visits, Michelin said shoppers may be “very thoughtful” in choosing gifts for loved ones.

Lastly, despite the temptation of getting great deals from national retailers, she suggested supporting smaller and local retailers instead, calling them “backbones of California’s economy.”

“We need to protect our small businesses,” Michelin said. “They are the ones that really need to have a great, strong holiday season so that they can weather the storm for another probably couple of months until we get the vaccine widely distributed in California and get back to that normalcy.”

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