Black Friday and holiday shopping looking different this year, but still crucial for businesses

BOSTON — This entire holiday season will look very different. When Black Friday begins, many stores will be limiting their shoppers so everyone can social distance but we can likely still expect some crowds because a COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean there won’t be Christmas

“I have looked through the flyers and I’m going out to look for a PS five so I’m going to GameStop and sitting outside,” said Hyde Park resident Laura Davis.

“It’ll be different because you have the distance in stores but not volume-wise,” said Chinatown resident Richard Kiley. “You cannot be a Scrooge, you have to help the small businesses out, support people who pay taxes in our community, and keep things going.”

Shopping small may be more crucial this year than ever before.

“I mentally put a goal that I’m trying to reach and if I don’t meet it, I really have to sit down and talk to my partners and really have those conversations of whether or not I want this to continue,” said Eunice Charles who founded Natralee, an online beauty & skincare company that also has a pop-up shop in Somerville. “I know the impact that I’m trying to make and the lives that I want to be touched by this business, so I do want to push forward but I also have to face the realities of what the circumstances are right now.”

Many businesses are now facing those tough decisions.

“There is a need to adapt and I think you’re going to see a lot of the boutique shops that might have some like a kind of specialty products they’re selling,” said Mainvest CEO Nick Matthews. “Either adapt and move to like an online distribution method and if not able to do so, they probably will not be able to make it through just because of the building costs that they’re unable to facilitate.”

This year shoppers have to make a decision as well.

“A lot online,” said Davis. “If it looks overcrowded I won’t go in. I’ll be safe put on a mask and shop as I normally would.”

On any other Thanksgiving, there would be people at Patriot at midnight, but because of the 9:30 p.m. COVID-19 curfew, stores won’t begin opening there until 5 a.m.

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