Column: COVID-19 is changing our holiday shopping

Destiny Blanchard

We’re a week away from Halloween weekend and that means the holiday season is upon us. We’ll likely see a barrage of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas advertisements from November 1st until New Year’s.

While this is not unexpected this time of year, we also have to consider the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 is something we’ve never had to deal with before during the holidays. And as much as we hoped it’d be over by now, we’re still in it for the long haul.

Although COVID-19 is a factor, businesses are still trying to find ways to continue making money in the coming months, many of which lost money back in March and the summer.

Most stores are implementing plans to keep customers safe when shopping. Some are even going as far as trying to deter customers from participating in the annual Black Friday event. Target announced that instead of having deals on the one specific day, Black Friday deals will run through the entire month of November, and be available online.

Walmart is following suit and holding similar sales events that will take place on three different days in November. The idea behind this is that there will be a spread in the days people come to take advantage of deals, rather than everyone bombard stores on the day after Thanksgiving.

Other big and local stores are making efforts to encourage everyone to shop online. I would hope that Cyber Monday, which takes place the day after Black Friday, is much more sought out than in years past.

All of the restrictions and spreading of event days have to do with crowd control and COVID-19 cases across the country. Even with the national effort to slow down cases there still continues to be a general trend upward in the number of cases in virtually every state.

I think that for this shopping season to go well, Americans have to let go of that holiday craze we all seem to get in the six weeks before Christmas. We’re all used to packed malls, last-minute spending, and waiting hours in lines for deals.

Unfortunately, none of those things are COVID-19 friendly. Will we be seeing a health-conscious, socially distanced holiday season? Hard to say. The pandemic will continue regardless, and we have to be prepared.


Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]