Despite pandemic, local shoppers flock to malls, stand in line ahead of Black Friday

It may be 2020, but for holiday shoppers across South Florida, the annual Black Friday tradition hasn’t gone away.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties still went to shopping centers and large retailers.
Some took advantage of Thanksgiving sales, whereas others waited in line for stores to open early Friday morning.
“We’re at the GameStop in Tower Shops in Davie,” said shopper Jennifer Ballester-Palacio as she sat in a folding chair outside the store.
“We’re here in line for Black Friday, seeing if we can get any deals,” said shopper Jackie Martinez.
“This is my first time in Black Friday so I wanted to see how it looks like,” said another shopper.
Shoppers have nevertheless noticed the crowds are thinner this year.
“This year is a lot less people. Usually there’s a lot more people around us, and you’re more claustrophobic,” said Martinez, “but this year a lot more laid back.”
Shoppers who opt to swing by stores to be the first to pick up doorbuster deals will notice COVID-19 regulations in place.
“Cleaning, hand sanitizers, masks, people asking for social distancing,” said a shopper.
Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater is ready to go, with social distancing markers on the floor, and stores are controlling how many people are allowed inside at a time.
“The stores are doing a good job keeping everybody safe,” said a shopper.
Even with these safety measures, some shoppers are skipping the trip to the malls and doing their holiday shopping online instead.
But at the BrandsMart in Miami Gardens, diehard shoppers said they’re determined to take advantage of good deals.
“These times are really hard, so you need to try and maximize your dollar when you can,” said shopper Darron Bowe. “You don’t need what the future holds with this pandemic.”
As they navigate a very different holiday season, some shoppers said they’re hopeful 2021 will bring a return to normalcy.
“I just want to wish everybody a happy holiday, and I hope we get over this serious economic pandemic,” said Bowe.
Shoppers heading out to shop on Black Friday are advised to check store hours beforehand.

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