COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The holiday season can be synonymous with the Christmas shopping season as many holidays include giving gifts to family and friends.
But with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, will people brave the stores this year or continue to shop online?
Pam Kirkland from the Columbus Health Department said shopping in person can be safe as long as you’re patient, stay socially distanced, and have a mask handy.
“Yeah this year we’ll be going online just to keep things on the safer side,” Amari Perez said.
“Yeah I won’t be going in person this year, but I don’t usually do Black Friday. I don’t like the madness and mayhem,” Kari Goodwin added.
While some said they prefer to stay online this year, health officials said it is safe to hit the brick and mortar stores if you’re up for it.
“You’re not going to get COVID from someone who just says excuse me and walks by you. You have to have sustained contact, so you don’t have to freak out about that,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland suggests if you’re braving the Black Friday deals, wear a mask, pack your patience, and maybe some hand sanitizer too. If you forget the sanitizer, Peachtree Mall in Columbus is stocked up. General Manager TaVida Rice said they’re increasing their house keeping to keep customers safe. They’re even introducing a new program this year to allow for less people and better social distancing.
“Spot finder program allows customers to go on our website, go to their favorite retailer, and get into a virtual line,” Rice said.
If you’re looking for some family fun while hitting the mall, Rice said there will be a Santa this year in 2020 social distance fashion.
“And this year for the first time, we’ll have two Santas. One Santa will be a black Santa, one Santa will be a white Santa, and they will rotate throughout the week,” Rice said.
The mall will have picnic benches spread out in the Santa area so kids can still see Santa, but they just cannot sit on his lap. And for those who do not want to head inside the mall, there is a virtual option where kids can visit with Santa from the safety of their own home.
One thing to note is if you’re one of those shoppers who likes to get an early start, Peachtree Mall will not be open Thanksgiving day this year.