Shoppers hunt for Black Friday deals amid COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 impact on Black Friday

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The COVID-19 pandemic is already causing challenges for some shoppers and retailers alike this holiday shopping season.

That’s largely because the Black Friday images we’re so used to seeing every year have been replaced thus far with those of thinning crowds and much shorter store lines.

A KSLA News 12 crew was outside the Dillard’s department store at Mall St. Vincent in Shreveport early on this Black Friday morning. We were there just as customers began to rush inside, once Dillard’s doors opened.

Most people donned their face masks, to protect against the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic. We even spotted one woman hold up what appeared to be a disinfectant spray as she walked inside.

Between the pandemic limiting crowds and stores offering more online deals, the crowds are not what they used to be.

Across town in South Shreveport, inside Academy Sports, the images were much the same.

We met some parents who were bound and determined to get the gifts their children are asking for.

That included Shellie Hooper of Bossier City.

“Just getting the bike. We tried to get one during quarantine and they were out. And so, he really wants one. So, that’s the only reason,” said Hooper.

And you don’t have to tell shoppers like Hooper about the risks of the COVID-19 virus. Once she found the right bicycle for her son, she planned to head back home to shop online.

Shellie wasn’t alone. We also met shoppers like Tiffeny, along with her shopping partner Victor Carroll.

“We did kind of online and out today,” started Tiffeny.

She is among the millions of Americans who have a pre-existing health condition and worry about exposure to the virus.

However, Carroll says he’s convinced the coronavirus threat is over-hyped.

“Just another story. I mean, it’s something that me, personally, (it) will come and go just like H1N1 and the swine flu. We’ll get something figured out soon. I just, I don’t worry about it. If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” Carroll said.

There is a silver lining of sorts for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation: overall sales are expected to rise anywhere from 3.8 to 5.2 percent this year compared to last, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

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