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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Black Friday: What to expect amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Many popular stores were closed Thursday, including Walmart, Target, Kohls and Best Buy, with plans to reopen on Black Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS —  

On Thanksgiving night, we usually see long lines start to form outside big department stores. But this year many shoppers are switching to online shopping amid COVID-19 concerns.  

Many popular stores were closed Thursday, including Walmart, Target, Kohls and Best Buy—with plans to reopen on Black Friday.  

Last year, around 100 million people shopped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. That number is expected to go down by 43 percent, which still means millions of shoppers will be out—some keeping tradition while others look to score deals.  

To cut down on crowds this year, big box stores are extending deals throughout the month, in store and online.  

If you are not a fan of online shopping, another option is curbside pickup, which is a quicker and cheaper way to shop this season that is still safe.  

But if you are determined to hit the store during Black Friday, there are ways to stay safe. 

Experts suggest avoiding crowded areas, mask up and avoid peak shopping times. Also, be prepared for long lines, not because of the shopping madness but for social distancing purposes.  

Most stores are encouraging people to shop online. 

Walmart will be open at 5 a.m. Friday. Customers will be greeted by employees with sanitized carts and customers are asked to form a single-file line in the front of the store.  

Best Buy is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. They will be offering online and curbside pick to prevent lines. Also, popular gaming consoles will only be sold online this year.  

Target will offer deals online and in stores for the entire month calling it “Black Friday Now.” The store will offer contactless payment in its app and reduce lines by having employees around the store let customers pay and let shoppers make reservations.