An+irritated+customer+rips+up+Black+Friday+spam+mail.+Many+shoppers+will+be+staying+home+this+year+because+of+COVID-19.+

Tyler Blandin

An irritated customer rips up Black Friday spam mail. Many shoppers will be staying home this year because of COVID-19.

Black Friday: COVID-19 breeding ground

With COVID-19 on the rise in Arizona, Black Friday could bring another shutdown in its wake. People pack into stores for those sweet, sweet savings, and social distancing goes out the window when consumers see that 50% on a 4k TV. Herds of shoppers have known to injure each other in previous years, which could indicate a lack of willingness to follow social distancing procedures. 

When the doors open and the veritable human flood rolls through like a hurricane, stores are going to be picked clean. While scavenging for the best deals, crowds are likely to form;  when the masses huddle together, shoulder to shoulder, masks can only do so much. While circling around the new iPhone like vultures, shoppers could spread COVID-19 faster than a wildfire. Stores could become too populated to properly maintain social distancing, and with a history of unruly mobs, employees may not be able to enforce the rules.

Another unfortunate reality is the possibility that retailers may not be quick enough with sanitizing the register areas. Improper cleaning could mean transmission even if social distancing is maintained. The Black Friday nightmare could spiral out of control with hundreds of shoppers checking out, dramatically increasing the chance of infection.

While it may be possible to keep checkouts clean, people grab and put back items in stores constantly. It would be futile for employees to attempt to track which products have been touched and sanitize them. Keeping customers safe may be an insurmountable challenge for retailers this season. 

With Arizona on the verge of a possible shut down, Black Friday promises to put the final nail in the coffin. It is a simple fact that the Black Friday deals are known to attract vast crowds of people into various storefronts across the country. Shoppers could find themselves with COVID-19 in their cart along with shiny new toys. 

Shopping this year will not be slowed down, with hot new releases in the tech industry being both increasingly expensive but also desirable gifts, people will be looking to grab them at slashed prices. A prime example of this is the PS5 and Xbox series X, which many parents will be looking for as a holiday gift, but with these both coming in at around $500, they are going to fly off shelves as gift givers look to soften the blow to their wallet.

While certain retailers have planned to spread out Black Friday over the week, it has spread further and further into the year, much like COVID-19 itself. Early Black Friday shopping was designed to get people to come into stores earlier and earlier because they were overflowing from a tsunami of rushed shoppers bursting through the doors.

That wave of humans is going to turn into a wave of COVID-19 cases.

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