New COVID-19 restrictions at Alberta stores and businesses took effect just in time for Black Friday, and the shopping tradition looks a lot different this year.
“Its a little bit nerve-racking,” shopper Jahi Soloman said.
“You’ve got to keep your space from different people, so it’s a little scary. But the deals are good.”
Earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney announced most retail stores will be allowed to stay open with capacity limited to 25 per cent of the occupancy set under the Alberta fire code. For the Best Buy store in South Edmonton Common, that limit is 148 people.
“First thing (this morning), we definitely had a line around the building,” Best Buy manager Keith Knorr said. “But we’ve been really strict with our protocols for the amount of customers in the building co-existing with… staff.”
West Edmonton Mall was also taking strict measures.
“We have all of our security agents on the floor,” said West Edmonton Mall general manager Danielle Woo.
“My guest services teams are on the floor as well — as well as our promotions teams — and we also have Edmonton Police Services on site, as well as City of Edmonton bylaw officers.”
She said although the mall was busy Friday, it was below capacity.
“A lot of our stores have started their sales early this year, so instead of doing one day as Black Friday, (we are) spacing it out throughout the week or two weeks before,” Woo said.
That’s a strategy that Knorr said Best Buy was also using to lower in-store foot traffic along with its online options.
“We’re seeing an influx with online orders,” he said. “I think every retailer has — just because most people aren’t shopping as much… in certain locations.”
Whether its online or in store, for Soloman, it’s all about getting that door crasher deal.
“It was worth the wait. (I) got a good price,” Soloman said.