Coronavirus News: Black Friday shoppers planning to sit this year out due to COVID pandemic concerns

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LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Eyewitness News found that people in the New York City area who traditionally do Black Friday shopping will not be participating this year because of the coronavirus.

"I'm going to be at home. I'm not going out there in the crowds," said Yvette Bhola, of Deer Park.

Kristal Grindley, of Wyandanch, said she usually does Black Friday shopping, but won't this year.

"It's too big of a risk. We're trying to get rid of COVID, not make it worse," she said.

Don Vassallo, of Melville, said he still plans to go shopping with his two grown daughters.

"I hate shopping! What we do for our children," he said.

Those with the Queens Center Mall said they have many safety protocols in place to protect shoppers.

They have hand-sanitizing stations throughout the mall, they use electrostatic sprayers to clean high-touch surfaces and they have masks to hand out to shoppers.
"If there is any indoor location that is better prepared than this shopping center, I would be very surprised," said Steve DeClara, the mall's senior property manager.

DeClara said the mall has a plan in place if the 50 percent occupancy limit is reached.

National retailer experts said retailers should expect a good holiday shopping season.

The National Retail Federation estimated that holiday sales will be 3.6 percent to 5.2 percent higher this year than in 2019. Many of the sales are expected to happen online.

Small business owners are begging people to shop local, since they have suffered extensively through the pandemic.

Candy Devodier, of Farmingdale, said she always does her holiday shopping at local stores.

"I patronize local. I stay away from malls and I like the little people," she said.

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