Has COVID-19 killed Black Friday?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many aspects of American life in 2020. The latest: Holiday shopping.

Frenzied Thanksgiving-night Black Friday sales, a 20-year tradition, appear to be over, at least for 2020.

Stores cannot risk large crowds with the pandemic still spreading. That means they have no choice but to end the mad rush to stores Thanksgiving evening.

The big four Black Friday retailers — Walmart, Kohl’s, Target and Best Buy — have all announced in the past two weeks they will not open Thanksgiving evening this year, and will focus on online shopping instead that night.

Other stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving night (that were also closed last year) include Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom.

Forbes magazine calls it a great decision, a win for both shoppers and store employees. Workers can finally enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, while customers can grab laptops, flat-screen TVs and Instant Pots online.

What if you prefer in-store shopping?

But from the doesn’t that stink file — holiday shopping could be difficult for those that enjoy the in-store experience or the thrill of the hunt.

Many families make Thanksgiving night an annual event, strategically hitting different stores, then all meeting at IHOP for pancakes when they are done. No more.

Most stores are limited to just 25% to 50% capacity now, which will likely mean lines out the doors when they open on Friday morning after Thanksgiving.

As a result, online shopping is expected to explode this fall, with Forbes expecting Black Friday deals to start as early as October to spread out the rush.

The key to holiday shopping this year will be starting early because no one wants to have to stand and wait outside a store that has reached its capacity limit in mid-December.

As always, don’t waste your money.

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