RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Shopping deals are being offered earlier than ever before this year as businesses adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stores have to operate under new guidelines that include a stricter mask mandate with updated enforcement guidelines.
Big box stores — like Walmart, Target, and Academy Sports — will all be required to operate at 50-percent capacity.
“Our team members will be able to monitor the number of customers in the store. Any store has the ability to adjust the flow of customers in and out,” said John Byczek, public relations specialist for Academy Sports & Outdoors.
Gov. Roy Cooper is requiring stores that are more than 15,000 square feet to dedicate an employee to checking face masks and monitoring capacity at every entrance.
Face coverings are required for all employees and shoppers.
Some stores, like Target, will provide masks to customers who don’t have them. Target is also providing contactless self-checkout options and doubling parking spots for contactless drive-up services.
Businesses will have social distancing markers, protective shields at registers, and will be doing extra cleaning.
“It’s very important. We want our customers and our team members to remain safe while taking advantage of Black Friday deals so they can have fun out there,” Byczek said.
Many are encouraging online shopping and offering deals earlier than usual to avoid the crowds rushing the stores.
“We expect a variation of customers to come in store and shop online,” Byczek said.
Recent surveys show people plan to spend less on gift-giving this year compared to last year and more plan to do their shopping online.
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